War Against the Junta

Eight Myanmar Junta Forces Killed in Kantbalu Battle with PDFs 

By Hein Htoo Zan 19 January 2023

Eight junta soldiers and allied Pyu Saw Htee militia were killed in a battle with resistance forces near a village in Kantbalu Township, Sagaing Region on Tuesday, according to resistance groups and locals.

Clashes broke out at around 1.45 pm when the combined resistance force attacked a junta military column of some two dozen troops reinforced by militia near Nyaung Zin Lay village, Than Kone village tract.

The column had reportedly entered the area a few weeks ago.

A resistance force comprising the Kantbalu Underground Warriors, MPF U.18, Kantbalu People’s Defense Force (Kantbalu PDF), Kantbalu L-PDF, and another guerrilla group bombarded the column with eight rounds of 60mm mortar fire.

“The junta’s military troops and Pyu Saw Htee were not able to return fire. They just had to run away and fall back,” said a member of the Kyun Hla Activist group.

The body of a Pyu Saw Htee militia member lies near the spot where clashes broke out in Kantbalu Township on Tuesday./ Supplied

At around 2.30 pm, junta troops called up reinforcements in the form of Pyu Saw Htee militia from Htan Kone village. However, they ran into two landmines and an ambush attack on the way to the battle site, residents and resistance groups said.

Some reinforcements arrived but junta troops were still forced to retreat at 4 pm in the face of advancing resistance fighters.

“At around 4.30, they received reinforcement from 60 more troops, but we kept fighting them for another 30 minutes,” said a member of Kantbalu PDF.

The clashes ended at around 5 pm near Yaw village, leaving at least eight personnel from the junta force dead, according to a statement issued by the Kantbalu Underground Warriors group.

There were no casualties reported among the resistance forces, it added.

Junta forces and Pyu Saw Htee militia are also suspected in the massacre of a family of eight, including three children, at their home in Kantbalu last Saturday. The family were known to be supporters of the ousted National League for Democracy.

Since the February 2021 coup, the junta has killed over 2,700 civilians and arrested more than 13,000, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP). The resistance stronghold of Sagaing Region has suffered the highest death toll.