Myanmar Military Evacuates Officers’ Families From Conflict-Hit Northern Township

By The Irrawaddy 12 October 2021

Family members of high-ranking military officers have been evacuated from Sagaing Region’s Kale Township on military aircraft, according to local residents.

The evacuation came after 3,000 reinforcements and weapons were deployed to the country’s most restive areas—Sagaing and Magwe regions and Chin State—to conduct clearance operations against civilian resistance forces.

Considered a strategic township, Kale is surrounded by several military bases and sits on the border of Sagaing and Magwe regions, two resistance hotspots in which the junta has suffered heavy troop losses.

A Kale resident who is close to the military told The Irrawaddy on Tuesday that around 30 family members of high-ranking army officers were flown out on military aircraft on Sunday night.

Another 30 military officers who are believed to be high ranking were also dropped off by a military flight at Kale Airport on Monday, the source said.

On that morning, the military flight reportedly departed from Kale after picking up passengers.

“Local people are now concerned about heavy urban firefights, as we are seeing military flights continually landing and taking off, as well as the deployment of artillery at the military bases,” the local resident told The Irrawaddy on Tuesday.

In addition to being posted at military bases, many military troops have been deployed across the town, including at junctions, banks, a university, the township hall, colleges, hospitals and checkpoints.

On Monday, a military convoy of more than 40 vehicles including two tanks departed for Chin State from Kale, according to locals.

After being hit by frequent ambushes by civilian resistance fighters from local People’s Defense Force units, regime troops raided and burned down a number of villages along the Kale-Gangaw Highway in Kale and in Magwe Region’s Gangaw Township.

In the last four months alone, the equivalent of two infantry battalions of junta soldiers—around 1,500 troops—have been killed in ambushes by civilian resistance fighters in Sagaing and Magwe regions and Chin State.

One of the junta’s most notorious commanders—Lieutenant General Than Hlaing, the chief of the Myanmar police and the regime’s deputy home affairs minister—and another officer, Lieutenant General Tayza Kyaw, have been assigned to the military’s North West Command based in Monywa, Sagaing Region, to lead the military’s operations against the PDFs.

Also, convoys of military reinforcements are now facing fierce ambushes by PDF units in several areas in Sagaing and Magwe.

On Monday, around 30 junta troops including a tactical commander were reportedly killed in Sagaing Region’s Pale Township when three military convoys were ambushed by the civilian fighters of the Pale-People’s Defense Force at three locations in the township, according to the armed group.

Additionally, early on Tuesday morning, two military convoys were ambushed with landmines by PDF groups in two Sagaing townships: Ayadaw and Depayin.

With the exception of Rakhine State, People’s Defense Force units across the country have stepped up their operations targeting military regime troops since Sept. 7, when the parallel National Unity Government declared a people’s defensive war against the junta.

Meanwhile, the junta has escalated its raids and acts of violence including arbitrary killings, burning down villages and shelling residential areas, especially in Sagaing and Magwe regions and Chin and Kayah states.

Regime forces have also used heavy explosives, jet fighters and helicopters in recent clashes with civilian resistance fighters, who are mostly armed with old-fashioned homemade hunting guns and homemade mines, in Sagaing and Magwe regions and Chin State.

You may also like these stories:

Myanmar’s Ousted President Told Army Officers He Would Rather Die Than Resign on Day of Coup

Rising Prices Forcing Myanmar Truckers to Stop Operations

Myanmar Junta Rolls Back NLD Reforms, Revives Previous Regime’s Plans