Feature: Two boats from the military flotilla of 8 vessels operating in Kani Township, Sagaing Region this week. / CJ
By The Irrawaddy 27 January 2022
Around 40 junta soldiers including an army captain were reportedly killed when several resistance groups conducted a series of daring attacks over the past five days against a military flotilla of eight vessels in Kani Township, Sagaing Region.
The flotilla, including six barges and two motorboats carrying over 100 troops, was reportedly transporting food, weapons and ammunition to upper Myanmar along the Chindwin River. It departed from the city of Monywa on January 22.
The Irrawaddy was unable to confirm independently the Myanmar military’s casualties.
On Thursday, the Kani People’s Defense Force – Kyauk Lone Gyi (KPDF-KLG) claimed to have killed 20 regime troops when it attacked the flotilla three times that morning along with other local PDFs.
The group said that one of the vessels caught fire after being hit with a homemade 40mm shell fired by the PDFs. A video shows the resistance fighters attacking the boats.
On Wednesday, a combined force of at least four resistance groups also attacked the flotilla at three locations along the Chindwin River, according to the resistance groups.
At 10am on Wednesday, the combined force attacked the vessels near Chantharsu Village. At least 15 regime soldiers were killed in the assault, according to KPDF-KLG which coordinated the attacks.
Video shows one of the vessels being hit by an explosive round or shell.
The combined PDFs went on to attack the flotilla again at 2pm on Wednesday afternoon. The military vessels also came under attack at 6.30pm Wednesday evening while docked at a sandbank near a village.
The flotilla has been delayed for several days in Kani because of the attacks. The journey north from Monywa to Mingin usually takes one or two days, said Ko Phoe Toke, the leader of Mahuurar Dragon, another resistance group based in Kani Township which helped coordinate the attacks.
On Tuesday, the convoy of vessels was ambushed by a combined PDF force near Thaphan Chaung Village on the lower reaches of the Chindwin River.
After reportedly suffering five casualties, including an army captain, in an ambush last Sunday, regime troops from the flotilla torched 31 houses in Natgyi Village on the banks of the Chindwin.
On Saturday, junta forces also torched 11 houses while arresting and then killing a 30-year-old villager who suffered from mental illness during a raid on Mokehtaw Village after their vessels were attacked by resistance fighters, according to local PDFs.
Resistance fighter Ko Phoe Toke of Mahuurar Dragon said that civilians are now being targeted by regime troops for arrest, torture and murder when they cannot beat the resistance forces in battle.
“They [regime forces] are inhuman. They burned houses. They don’t know the value of a house as most of them haven’t owned a house,” said Ko Phoe Toke.
“We can understand their looting of homes. However, burning houses shows how atrocious they are,” he added.
In early December, a series of firefights was also reported when resistance groups from Kani and Mingin townships ambushed another military flotilla of eight vessels reportedly transporting jade from Kachin State down the Chindwin River.
Armed resistance against the military regime began in Kani in April last year. The township is one of the most restive areas in Sagaing Region.
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