Why Are Myanmar Resistance Offensives Yielding Limited Success?

By The Irrawaddy 8 October 2022

While resistance raids on Myanmar junta outposts and police stations continue, their limited firepower means they struggle to occupy targets.

The increasing availability of proper firearms among resistance groups has increased their ability to attack junta targets, forcing regime troops in some areas, especially Sagaing and Magwe regions, to retreat into defensive positions.

Four junta policemen from Nyaung Pyu Pin police station in Monywa Township, Sagaing Region, were gunned down by resistance forces on Tuesday while shopping.

In early September, two officers from the police station were killed while shopping at a bazaar.

On Sunday, groups including Sagaing People’s Defense Force (PDF) and groups from Mandalay Region attempted to occupy the police station where the military Northwestern Command is based.

An estimated 10 junta soldiers and police were reportedly killed and five injured but the resistance groups said they were unable to occupy the police station because of its strong structure and heavy rain.

The Irrawaddy could not independently verify the reports.

Resistance groups claimed to have killed five police officers on August 21 during a drive-by shooting.

A junta outpost seized by the Karenni Army in Shadaw Township, Kayah State, in August. / Karenni Army

On Sunday, resistance groups from Pale and Salingyi in Sagaing Region and Myaing and Yesagyo townships in Magwe Region said they attacked Kyar Tat police station in Salingyi Township.

The resistance groups claimed to have killed at least 10 junta personnel and injured 18 others during five hours of fighting. But they withdrew when an MI-35 helicopter attacked and regime reinforcements were airlifted in by helicopter.

Resistance groups from Myaing and Pauk townships in Magwe Region on Sunday abandoned an attempt to occupy the Zee Pyar village police outpost due to their limited firepower.

They claimed to have killed about 17 junta soldiers, police and pro-regime Pyu Saw Htee militia members and arrested over 50 militia members during their raid on the village where junta forces are providing military training to nearly 100 militia members.

The resistance group said they fired around 17,000 rounds of ammunition during seven hours of fighting.

In mid-September, Kalewa PDF said it occupied and burned down Ma Sein village police station in Kalewa Township, Sagaing Region, killing at least seven police officers.

The regime is also struggling with attacks from ethnic armed organizations and their resistance allies in Chin, Kachin, Shan, Mon, Karen and Rakhine states. The junta is reportedly losing personnel and its bases in the states.

On September 28, 13 junta soldiers, including a deputy battalion commander, were killed when the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) and the Special Operations Force resistance group occupied a junta hilltop base near Paya Taung village in Kyainseikgyi Township, Karen State.

Brigade 6 of the KNLA said it had seized at least seven junta outposts in the state since May.

Since the 2021 coup, the junta has reportedly lost around 90 bases, including key strategic outposts and supply hubs.