Myanmar Junta Forces Suffer ‘Heavy Casualties’ in Battle for Sagaing Village

By The Irrawaddy 23 May 2023

Intense clashes lasting for eight hours broke out on Monday when People’s Defense Forces (PDFs) attempted to seize a police outpost at Badu village, Sagaing Region, according to locals and resistance groups.

The village in Sagaing Township had been raided by around 100 junta troops just the day before, forcing thousands of residents to flee.

Junta forces deployed helicopter gunships to conduct airstrikes and drop reinforcements during the resistance attack.

Resistance fighters from a combined PDF force during a clash with regime forces in Badu on Monday. / 96 Soldiers PDF

Fighting erupted at 9 am on Monday when 10 PDF groups attacked the Badu police outpost where around 30 soldiers and police were stationed, said Ko Zayar Lwin, a leader of the 96 Soldiers PDF group that joined the raid.

Resistance fighters were forced to retreat after two hours of fierce fighting when the military deployed a Russian MI35 gunship to attack them with rockets and machinegun, Ko Zayar Lwin told The Irrawaddy on Tuesday.

They resumed their attack on the outpost at 1.45 pm but were again repelled by the helicopter gunship. Munition fired by the gunship reportedly burned several houses in the village.

Resistance fighters eventually managed to occupy some parts of the police outpost, where they burned the prison cell, according to the PDF group.

However, the MI35 gunship returned the same evening to conduct further airstrikes. All resistance fighters were forced to retreat from the fighting when an MI17 transport helicopter carrying reinforcements was spotted approaching the clash site, the resistance groups said.

“We were almost able to occupy the whole police outpost yesterday. But our fighters had to retreat because we were afraid of being trapped in the village by regime forces dropped by helicopters. We were also low on ammunition,” Ko Zayar Lwin said.

The PDF groups claimed around five regime forces and police were killed in the clashes while one resistance fighter suffered serious injuries.

They said their attack was hampered by strong defenses including bunkers at the police outpost.

“To occupy junta bases, we need more powerful weapons and better organization because regime forces have now implemented strong defensive plans,” Ko Zayar Lwin said.

Junta reinforcements who arrived on Monday also torched houses in the village.

On Sunday, junta forces reportedly suffered casualties when around 100 troops from military division 33 in Sagaing town raided Badu and clashed with local PDFs. Three PDF fighters were also injured. Meanwhile, a 27-year-old female resident was killed and a child and senior citizen injured in an accident as they fled the village in vehicles.

Elsewhere in Sagaing Township, at least 12 regime forces including an officer were killed on Sunday when four PDF groups attacked a police station in Sadaung town, according to Zero Guerrilla Force, which joined the raid.

The PDF fighters were forced to retreat when two junta fighter jets arrived to patrol the skies above the area, the group said.