Serious fighting in Mindat, Chin State on Monday and Tuesday has left at least 13 junta soldiers dead after civilian resistance fighters attacked regime forces sent to reinforce security in the mountain-top town. Clashes have been taking place in Mindat since April 24, but have intensified since Monday.
“There has been a shootout going on with the junta reinforcements. Civilians intercepted them at the entrance to town yesterday and were able to prevent them from entering. Now, the junta forces are trying again,” said a Mindat resident.
On Tuesday morning, civilian fighters intercepted nine military trucks carrying junta reinforcements.
Resistance fighters also attacked junta troops in two places outside Mindat on Monday. There was also a clash at the border between Chin State and Magwe Region, said residents.
Locals said that 13 junta troops were killed in the clashes and a military truck went up in flames.
“There are no reported casualties from the civilian side. At first, we heard that seven of the regime forces had died. But this morning we heard from the military that a total of 13 died,” said a Mindat resident.
Military-run newspapers reported that the security forces were attacked with traditional firearms and rifles in Mindat, leaving one soldier dead, another three injured and a military vehicle destroyed by fire.
Fighting erupted in Mindat on April 24 after police refused to release six detained anti-regime protesters. Three policemen were reportedly killed in fighting that night.
“We asked them to release the protesters, but they wouldn’t. As tensions grew, the military shot at a biker in the evening. He wasn’t hit, but as they shot first, the young people responded,” said a Mindat resident.
“This is how the fighting has escalated in the town. There were a number of shootouts on Saturday and Sunday in the town. There were no casualties. But later the fighting became intense. We only have traditional firearms. We have to defend ourselves as they shot at us first,” he added.
All shops in Mindat were closed on Tuesday and the streets were deserted.
“We are not just doing this for our town. This is a crisis that concerns everyone in Myanmar. As things have happened, we have to try and do our best,” said another Mindat resident.
Junta troops in Kani, Mingin and Yimabin townships in Sagaing Region were ordered to reinforce Mindat on Sunday, Sagaing residents told The Irrawaddy.
Residents in various parts of Chin State and Sagaing Region use traditional firearms for hunting. Now, they are fighting the junta forces with those firearms, as well as homemade weapons.
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