Five resistance fighters killed in junta raid on Khin-U Township defence force base

February 22nd, 2022  •  Author:   Ko Moe Win , Ko Nyan Lin Aung , Ko Yatha , Ko Htet and Mauk Gyi (Khin-U Township)  •  4 minute read
Featured image

The bodies of defence force members killed in Myo Thit village, Khin-U Township, are seen on the evening of February 17 (Supplied)  

Among those slain was the leader of a local guerrilla group, whose murder was overheard on the phone by group members who had managed to escape 

By Myanmar Now

A Myanmar army column of around 100 soldiers and plainclothes members of the pro-military Pyu Saw Htee network raided a base belonging to a local defence force in Sagaing Region’s Khin-U Township on Sunday, killing five of the group’s members.

The early morning attack took place near the village of Thayet Kan, two miles outside of Khin-U town.

Troops arrived at the site at around 5am and started firing artillery one hour later, according to Taw Kyat Pha, a defence force member who managed to escape the raid. He told Myanmar Now that among those killed was the group’s 38-year-old leader, Moe Win.

“They didn’t even use regular guns. They just started the attack with heavy weapons. They also used rifle grenades and 40mm shells,” he said. “They made sure they had the upper hand. We had to fire back while retreating.”

In addition to Moe Win, the other defence force members killed included Nyan Lin Aung, aged 18; Yatha, 22; Ko Htet, 26; and Mauk Gyi, 40.

Taw Kyat Pha explained that Moe Win was initially injured after an artillery shell exploded near him, but he managed to make a phone call to defence force members who had escaped the attack. During the call, he was captured by the Myanmar army troops, who subsequently decapitated him.

“They killed him in the cruellest manner. He was left unable to run when he got hit by the shell and the military beheaded him from behind,” Taw Kyat Pha said.

“We were still on the phone with him when he got killed. We heard the soldiers identify him and talk about how he was killed,” he added.

The soldiers and Pyu Saw Htee members destroyed the base before leaving; all the residents of Thayet Kan reportedly fled their homes during the attack.

Surviving defence force members returned to the base that evening. They discovered the five bodies, including Moe Win’s, who they confirmed had been killed in the manner that they witnessed during the phone call. They were cremated on Monday afternoon.

Sunday’s raid was the second recent attack on the base in question; it was also targeted by junta forces on January 25, in an assault that killed seven members of the defence force.

The military also raided a base of another guerrilla force in neighbouring Myinmu Township on Sunday near San Din Kin village. The group, which calls itself “Black Eagle,” suffered two casualties and 10 members—three men and seven women—were arrested.

Black Eagle’s surviving members have reportedly gone into hiding.

During the raid, the junta troops confiscated more than 40 rifles, 12 pistols, five mortar shells, as well as ammunition and handmade explosives, according to the defence ministry of the shadow National Unity Government (NUG).

Taw Kyat Pha urged the NUG to support local defence forces with a greater supply of arms.

“I would like for the NUG to find out what’s actually going on here. The people in Sagaing are not immortal,” he told Myanmar Now. “We’re wagering our own lives because we love our country so much.”

“We are losing so many good men just because we don’t have proper weapons. That’s why we need their help,” he added.

The NUG has reportedly not responded to this request.

Despite being outgunned by the Myanmar army, local defence forces in Sagaing have issued significant challenges to the military, but suffered a number of casualties during recent battles in Khin-U, Kanbalu and Htigyaing townships.

Some 14 members of a village defence force in Myothit, Khin-U Township, were gunned down last week after plainclothes junta forces lured them into an open field before opening fire.

Original Post: Myanmar Now