Myanmar junta forces are stepping up their attempts to take control of Kanpetlet Township in Chin State, where 95 per cent of the territory is controlled by local resistance groups.
Until this year, there were only random junta raids in Kanpetlet. But since the end of January, the regime has sent battalions under Division 99 to join local battalions in Matupi Township in launching large-scale attacks on resistance groups, said a leader of the Chinland Defense Force – Kanpetlet (CDF-Kanpetlet).
“There is no permanent junta battalion based in Kanpetlet. Since the coup, only local battalions overseen by the Matupi tactical command have attacked us. But they [Myanmar military] have massively expanded their forces recently. And clashes are taking place more often. They are also sending food supplies with large military convoys,” the leader told The Irrawaddy.
The military regime has dispatched nearly 450 troops to Kanpetlet and there might also be other secret troop deployments, he added.
On Monday, three columns of junta troops entered Kanpetlet from Saw Township in Magwe Region. They were ambushed by a combined force of CDF-Kanpetlet and other resistance groups. Seven junta soldiers including an officer were killed in the clash, according to CDF-Kanpetlet.
“We clashed twice with junta troops marching from Magwe. A junta officer and six soldiers died in the fighting. The bodies of the six junta soldiers were buried, and the officer’s body was taken to the town,” said the CDF-Kanpetlet leader.
In January and February, 57 junta soldiers died in nine clashes with resistance fighters along the road linking Magwe’s Saw Township with Kanpetlet. Another 26 regime troops were injured, said CDF-Kanpetlet. One resistance fighter was also killed in the fighting.
Local resistance groups have formed a ‘People’s Administration” in Kanpetlet, as the junta’s administrative mechanism is no longer functioning.
“About the situation in Kanpetlet, junta troops are deployed in the town and resistance groups are deployed outside the town. Government departments are no longer operating in the town. Junta soldiers are looting the houses of residents,” one Kanpetlet resident told The Irrawaddy.
The majority of Kanjpetlet residents have left their homes and are staying at temporary shelters in the forest out of fear that the junta will use artillery.
Kanpalet is adjacent to Saw Township in Magwe and also borders Chin State’s Paletwa Township along the upper Kaladan River.
Military analysts said the regime wants to take back control of Kanpetlet so it can control the route to Paletwa, which is strategically important.
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