Myanmar Junta Colonel Killed in Raid on Mandalay Resistance

By The Irrawaddy 23 June 2021

A lieutenant colonel, captain and an other rank from Myanmar’s military were killed on Tuesday by the People’s Defense Force (PDF) formed by civilian resistance fighters in Mandalay.

The three were killed by a small group of poorly armed civilian resistance fighters after junta forces raided a Mandalay PDF base in Hton Tone ward in Chan Mya Thazi Township on Tuesday morning.

Lieutenant Colonel Aung Myo Kyaw was an adjutant staff officer.

“The staff officer and captain died before the two sides exchanged fire and another soldier was shot during the shooting. Three died from the military side,” said a source in Mandalay.

The colonel and captain entered a two-story building, where the PDF was based, ahead of their troops and without making their weapons ready, said a ward resident.

“It appeared that they didn’t know there were armed PDF members inside the building. They arrived in a private vehicle and entered the building. They were shot by PDF members inside the building. Military trucks arrived after that,” said the resident.

Junta troops threw bombs and used a grenade launcher to assault the building.

The officers were rescued and taken to the military hospital inside the Mandalay Palace, but they died.

Myanmar’s military never discloses its casualties but there are widespread reports on social media, including in military circles, that the colonel is dead.

The captain is reportedly from the Military Security Affairs Office.

Lt Col Aung Myo Kyaw filed a complaint against monk U Thawbita, the head of the Bawa Alin charity in Mandalay, in 2019 for defaming the military on Facebook. The monk posted that Myanmar’s military is more destructive than a natural disaster.

He was the highest-ranking junta officer killed since the February coup.

“Adjutants are responsible for administrative matters. They barely need to go outside. Military operations are normally supervised by G1 [general staff officer]. The fact that an adjutant came on an operation means the military is overstretched,” said an anonymous ex-police officer.

Junta mouthpiece the Myawaddy Television claimed four civilian resistance fighters died and eight others were detained in the clash that lasted about 90 minutes. Mandalay PDF said two of its members were killed and six were detained.

All the detainees were reportedly taken to the Mandalay Palace camp for interrogation.

There are reports that the PDF base was identified by military informants and Tuesday’s raid is connected with the previous junta raid on a PDF military training ground on the outskirts of Mandalay on May 21.

Striking military officers Lt. Min Khant Kyaw and Lt. Soe Wai Hlaing were reportedly arrested in the May 21 raid, and another striking military officer Capt. Lin Htet Aung said he had lost contact with the two and warned people to take caution if they were contacted by the officers’ Facebook accounts.

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