Regime’s Military Reinforcements Arrive in Upper Myanmar as Clashes Escalate

By The Irrawaddy 20 September 2021

The Myanmar military has stepped up its operations in Sagaing Region, with the junta reportedly deploying extra forces following escalating clashes in Sagaing between regime troops and civilian resistance fighters. Regime reinforcements are reportedly arriving not only by road but by river and air, too, along with heavy weapons.

Observers say that the junta may be planning attacks in Mingin, Kani, Yinmarbin, Pale and Myaung townships along the western banks of the Chindwin River, where armed resistance is especially strong.

Locals reported seeing military vessels carrying hundreds of junta soldiers sailing up and down the Chindwin River since September 12. The vessels also reportedly carried weapons, ammunition and armored vehicles, which have been deployed in Kani Township.

Regime reinforcements have also arrived by road and by helicopter in Kani, Monywa and Mingin.

“There have been an excessive number of junta forces and weapons arriving, many of them in Mingin and Kani townships,” a member of the Mingin People’s Defense Force (PDF) told The Irrawaddy.

Clashes are also intensifying in upper Magwe Region and Chin State, which both neighbor Sagaing. Junta forces have committed mass killings, as well as torching and looting villages in Sagaing.

Armed resistance in those areas has grown from individual villages rising up to clusters of villages rebelling together, said a military analyst who requested anonymity.

Meanwhile, thousands of locals have been forced from their homes in Taze, Tabayin and Myaung townships along the eastern banks of the Chindwin River in Sagaing.

The commander of the Pale Township PDF said, “[Resistance fighters] have been fiercely attacking the regime in Mingin, Pale, Yinmarbin and Kani, and lately in Myaung and Yaw. They [the junta] will put pressure on those areas where the resistance is strong. But we will continue to fight them with whatever weapons we have”.

Since August, the military regime has been conducting clearance operations in Sagaing Region, raiding one village after another. Internet services have been cut off in parts of Sagaing since last week, with some places having access only to 2G mobile internet.

Local PDF’s say that the regime has brought in between 500 and 600 troops from Monywa and Kale townships, and most of them are currently deployed in Kani and Yinmarbin.

Over 100 junta reinforcements have also arrived in Mingin, and there are also large numbers of of Pyu Saw Htee, a militia group trained and armed by the junta, in Mingin, said the township PDF. Many locals have fled their homes following the arrival of the junta reinforcements.

Kani Township PDF has warned civilians to evacuate to safe areas following the increase in regime troop deployments.

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