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Burma coup resistance notes April 15, 2023
Record-breaking massacre; junta-imposed celebration flops again; Chin forces expelling junta from their state.
On April 11 the regime committed its biggest civilian massacre yet, in Paziji village in the war-ravaged Kantbalu Township of Sagaing Division. A crowd of residents gathered at 8:00 a.m. for a morning dedication ceremony for a new People’s Authority, or local liberation governance body. A dalan must have informed the junta, because a jet and an Mi-35 helicopter showed up at the precise time and place of the dedication and dropped bombs and strafed the location. At last report 170 people were killed including 21 children, though the precise number was difficult to determine due to the condition of the corpses, or the obliteration of some of them.
But that wasn’t horrific enough for the junta. As rescue teams were collecting the dead and wounded, a job which took all day, the jets returned at 5:00 p.m. and bombed again, killing three rescue workers. (The Irrawaddy 4/11)
The genocidal barbarity of blowing a crowd of civilians to bits, then attacking the survivors, sets a macabre record, even for this military death cult. In addition to the deaths, 17 survivors required surgery, including a child who was completely burned and a woman with a hand amputation. (Mizzima 4/14)
The killings will continue until you celebrate Thingyan-----------------
The annual Thingyan water festival and Buddhist New Year, April 13-15, would normally be the biggest holiday of the year, with three days of traditional dancing & splashing water in the extreme April heat. This year again, however, the people were not in a celebratory mood, and boycotted the junta’s contrived festivities. The regime built stages in cities all over the country, but no one showed up other than a few pro-junta families and non-CDM government staff who had no choice. In addition, PDFs detonated bombs near Thingyan stages in Lashio, Yangon, Bago Region, Sagaing, and elsewhere. Still another complication was the constant power cuts, which disabled water pumps and sound stages, even leaving dancers without music in the middle of a performance. Since taking power, the junta has not been able to keep the lights on.
There were numerous Thingyan commemorations in liberated areas, where PDFs and other groups composed Revolution-themed dances and chants.
For the first time, a junta convoy invading Chin State was annihilated before reaching its destination. A 30-truck convoy, led by two armored vehicles, left Kalay in Sagaing Region on March 7 with food and ammunition for junta troops in Hakha, capital of Chin State. The trucks were stolen from civilians, as the junta has almost run out of its own. Along the way it was repeatedly attacked with drones, roadside bombs, and gunfire. This trip normally takes 7 hours, but more than a month later the convoy still hadn’t arrived. The trucks were picked off by drones until none were left, even the armored vehicles. An ammunition truck exploded. Only 40 troops remained out of the 200 who left. The troops in Hakha will not receive their shipment that they need before the rains start.
Elsewhere in Chin State, a column of 150 junta troops was trying to get to Mindat down, but was attacked repeatedly by Chin defense forces April 7-10. Eighteen were killed. (Than Lwin Khet News 4/12)
There was big news as Chin forces attacked and captured a junta camp guarding a bridge at Vaar in Hpalam township on April 10, cutting the junta’s access along that road. Fourteen junta troops were killed and a large number of weapons were captured. In response, junta jets bombed the civilian town of Webula, killing 9 citizens. (Chindwin News Agency 4/10)
The Kachin army and allied PDFs are attacking a junta front-line camp in Kutkai township, northern Shan State. Fighting is reported to be intense, but no outcome is reported yet as of April 14. (People's Spring 4/14) The Kachin also blew up a junta convoy in Banmauk township of northern Sagaing Region on April 12, killing 10 troops. Two jets and a helicopter then came and bombed things. (Khit Thit Media 4/13)
The Kawthoolei government (KNU) announced combat figures for March: The Karen army fought 373 battles, killed 422 junta troops, and wounded 258. Karen army Brigade 2 has been on the attack around Taungoo several times this week.
In Beit-Tavoy District of Kawthoolei (Tanintharyi Region on Burmese maps), PDFs attacked and nearly overran a junta camp in Thayetchaung township on April 9, killing 20 troops, but then reinforcements arrived. (People's Spring 4/12) In Tenasserim township, PDFs counter-attacked an invading junta column April 9-12, killing 18 troops. (Tanintharyi Times 4/10, 4/12)
In Dooplaya District of Kawthoolei (Myawaddy township on Burmese maps) Karen army Brigade 6 and its allied Cobra, Lion, and other PDFs captured a BGF camp on the edge of Myawaddy city on April 11, killing 10 BGF troops and capturing many weapons. Two Karen soldiers were killed. (Khit Thit Media 4/12) Also, the Venom battalion announced that it was switching allegiance from the break-away “Kawhtoolei army” militia of warlord Nerdah Mya and rejoining the Karen army Brigade 6, becoming Cobra Column 2nd Battalion. (Cobra Column 4/9)
The battle of Shwe Kokkol ended when Karen army Brigade 6 turned its attention toward Myawaddy and Thingan Nyinaung on the Asia Highway. But at the end, the Karen Lion Brigade fell into a trap; a losing BGF commander offered to surrender, and when the Lions came forward, he attacked them, killing 5 and capturing some of their weapons, but the Lions commander and the rest escaped. (Salween Press 4/9)
If there was any question about the corrupt nature of KNU Brigade 7 leadership, its corpulent commander Aung Maw Aye was a guest of honor at the junta’s Thingyan contrivances in Pa-an on April 13. KNU Brigade 7 has been a loyal lapdog of the junta since the coup, declining to fight even once, even when the fighting took place in its territory at Shwe Kokkol. Some have suspected that Brigade 7’s failure to defend the Karen people was strategic, but events like this make clear that it’s a classic case of betrayal, like the NMSP in Mon State that sold out its people to be groomed by the junta. Pa-an District’s eventual liberation will require stepped-up action by PDFs or neighboring KNU brigades, or a wholesale change of Brigade 7 leadership.
In northern Shan State, PDFs who relocated from Mandalay fought intensively with junta troops in Naungcho township on April 10, killing more than 30 troops. It was so bad for the junta that 5 jets bombed. (People's Spring 4/11)
Karenni defense forces announced that they control 60% of Karenni land, the junta controls 20% including the big towns, and another 20% is contested. 300,000 people live in Karenni-controlled territory, vs. 50,000 under junta-control, largely because the cities have become depopulated. (KNDF chairman & KSCC vice chair Khon Bi Htoo)
In Arakan State, junta border troops got into a drunken fight with each other, and an officer hurled a grenade at some of his troops. One died and another lost a leg. (Ayeyarwaddy Times 4/14) The solidarity and purposefulness of Revolution soldiers is completely absent on the junta side.
People’s Defense Forces (PDFs)-----------------
In Mandalay Region, 80 troops burned Kin village in Maddaya township, but a PDF coalition counter-attacked on April 11, killing 14 of them and wounding 21. The commander was killed. (People's Spring 4/12) In Taungtha township, PDFs wiped out a junta checkpoint at Majiyo, killing 15 troops on April 11. (Khit Thit Media 4/12) In Myinchan township, PDFs attacked a column of 30 troops near Yondo, killing 14 of them; 2 PDFs also died, and some guns were captured by the PDFs. The remaining troops kidnapped 30 civilians as human shields. (People's Spring 4/9) In Thabeitjin township, a PDF blew up two trucks full of troops at Tagaung on April 12, killing 15 troops; 5 others lost limbs and won’t be returning to the war. (Myaelatt Athan 4/12)
In Magway Region, the Yaw Defense Force continued to engage with junta troops; after killing 30 last week, they eliminated 13 more this week at Mi Aye village. (Khit Thit Media 4/10)
In Sagaing Region, PDFs attacked and captured a Pyu Saw Htee terrorist camp at Ma-U in Minkin township on April 11. Enemy casualties aren’t reported, but 6 PDF soldiers received minor injuries. (Myaelatt Athan 4/11) On the Sagaing-Maddaya boundary, junta jets and 100 troops raided a PDF camp. All the PDF soldiers escaped, but lost their weapons, and 10 were wounded. (Myaelatt Athan 4/10)
A military engineering PDF called the Salingyi Special Task Force has perfected and begun production of a 9mm semi-automatic rifle using 3-D printed components and rifled barrels. A video shows soldiers test-firing the rifles. They are for distribution to soldiers of various PDFs. (Mizzima 4/10)
At least 35 junta troops were killed in various smaller actions around the country. As a reminder, this war can only last as long as the junta still has troops, so these casualty tallies should be interpreted in that context.
Urban guerrillas bombed an electric power substation in the military capital Naypyitaw on April 14, knocking out power to part of the city, including the hotels where Russian pilot trainers are staying while they teach Burmese pilots how to bomb civilians. (Mizzima 4/14)
Revolution forces set off bombs at or near junta-constructed Thingyan stages in Lashio, where 6 people were killed and 8 injured, Letpandan in Bago Region, Hlainthaya township of Yangon where 2 bombs wounded 3 troops, Pakokku where a missile killed 2 troops and halted the festivities, a Sagaing township Pyu Saw Htee terrorist camp where a drone bomb killed 8 of them and wounded at least 30 more.
Political and economic-------------------
In a commemorative letter to the Arakan Army on its 14th founding anniversary, the Kokang and Ta’ang ethnic armies of northern Shan State (MNDAA & TNLA, respectively) said they will fight alongside the other forces overthrowing the military junta. (The Kokang, 4/10) This statement basically contradicts a letter they signed a month ago on March 16 welcoming Chinese mediation with the junta. The Kokang and Ta’ang have fought fiercely against junta incursions into their homelands.