Myanmar junta troops have suffered heavy casualties after being ambushed by resistance forces while heading to Matupi and Mindat townships in Chin State.
A convoy of more than 80 trucks carrying junta soldiers left Magwe Region’s Pakokku last week, and arrived at an artillery battalion base in Kyaukhtu on the border of Magwe and Chin State on March 13.
Three days later, around 35 trucks departed for Mindat Township and were ambushed by two resistance groups, who carried out several mine attacks on the convoy. A number of military regime troops were killed and injured and vehicles were damaged, said Ko Yaw Marn, a leader of Chinland Defense Force-Mindat (CDF-Mindat).
“Many soldiers were hit by the mine explosions. Two military trucks were also damaged and dragged back to Kyaukhtu,” he told The Irrawaddy.
Mindat is 18 miles from Kyaukhtu. CDF-Mindat has warned local people not to use the Kyaukhtu-Mindat-Matupi road as fighting could break out at any time.
The junta convoy is made up of troops from the Pakokku-based 101st Light Infantry Battalion.
CDF leader Ko Yaw Marn said: “80 trucks arrived in Kyaukhtu. 35 of them traveled onto Mindat, and 28 others left for Htilin. We guess that they are heading to Hakha [the Chin State capital]. Around 10 other trucks remained in Kyaukhtu.”
Another regime convoy of around 30 trucks and two armored cars left Sagaing Region’s Kale on March 7 for Thantlang and Hakha. Resistance groups have been ambushing them since March 10, said Salai Htet Ni, spokesperson for the Chin National Army (CNA).
“We, CNA, and local resistance forces are ambushing them along the road. They have not yet arrived in Falam,” he told The Irrawaddy last Friday.
Over 20 junta soldiers were killed and dozens injured in six mine attacks between March 10 and 17, according to Salai Htet Ni. The Irrawaddy could not verify casualties independently.
Military observers said the convoys were delivering food and weapons to Myanmar military outposts in Chin State ahead of the rainy season.
In April last year, a convoy of over 70 military trucks was also sent from Magwe to attack resistance forces in Mindat and Matupi. Scores of junta soldiers were subsequently killed and injured in ambushes.