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Burma coup resistance notes July 7, 2023
Junta concentrated assaults in Kachin, Karenni, Chin attempt to push back Revolution gains
“The Revolutionary Army is full of educated young people, while the Military Council [junta] army is full of uneducated middle-aged adults. All we need on our side is money." – an unnamed spokesman for the Federal Wings drone warfare PDF (People's Spring 7/1)
Karen forces blew up several bridges to control junta movements, and inflicted many casualties in various districts of Kawthoolei this week.
The Karen army drove back a junta column that was approaching Kler Lwi Htoo District to try to recapture the crossing over the Sittaung River that Karen forces captured on June 6. The battle took place July 2-3 on the west bank of the Sittaung, which forms the western boundary of Kawthoolei. Fourteen junta troops were killed and some wounded were sent to a hospital in Kyauktaga, where the junta retreated. Two Karen soldiers were killed and another wounded. (Myaelatt Athan 7/3) Junta troops are firing long-range mortars from the west bank of the Sittaung all the way into Lerr Doh town (Kyaukgyi). (The Irrawaddy 7/3)
Karen army Brigade 2 and allied PDFs ambushed a junta column of 50 troops on July 3 in Yetashey Township west of Kawthoolei Taw Oo District. Using landmines followed by gunfire, the Karen forces killed 10 troops or 20% of the column, forcing the rest to retreat. Then on July 6, another column of 50 troops marched into a village in Htaw Ta Htoo Township (Htantapin on Burmese maps). The Karen army and PDF forces retreated to draw them in, then surrounded them and opened fire. A jet came to the aid of the trapped column, while helicopters evacuated the dead and injured. At least 15 of the 50 were killed, and others wounded; a PDF soldier died and 2 Karen soldiers were wounded including an officer. The junta retreated. (Myaelatt Athan 7/7)
News also emerged of a June 24 ambush of a junta column on the Taungoo-Thandaung road in which one of seven trucks was blown up and the Karen fired on the survivors, killing more than 20 in total and wounding others. (Khit Thit Media 7/6)
Karen army Brigade 6 attacked junta border camps at Thay Baw Bo and Ukritta starting June 30, and the regime responded with jet bombing that killed and injured civilians. A jet violated Thai air space on June 29. A wave of refugees crossed into Thailand. (The Irrawaddy 7/4) Meanwhile, Brigade 6 has also been attacking junta occupation troops daily in Kaw T’Ree town (Kawkareik) with mortars, drones, and gunfire. (Than Lwin Khet News 7/6) The Karen army has entered Kaw T’Ree town multiple times, where it sacked junta positions and withdrew ahead of air strikes. Junta troops attacked a Karen army Cobra Column position west of Myawaddy town on July 6, and the Cobras killed 2 troops and wounded 3. (Karen Information Center 7/7)
Junta troops boasted that their camp in Noh Ta Kaw (Kyainseikgyi) in Kawthoolei’s Duplaya District was impervious to drone attacks due to the use of a signal jammer. The Karen army and the Cloud Wings drone warfare PDF then dropped bombs there on July 5 that killed an officer and a soldier. (People's Spring 7/5) Indiscriminate junta artillery fire has killed more civilians there.
Karen army Brigade 6 and allied PDFs also destroyed a junta communications station in Ye Township of Mon State on July 7. After a half hour of mortar and gunfire, the 10 troops at the hilltop station fled, leaving a large amount of grenades and ammunition to be captured by the Karen. (Karen Information Center 7/7)
The Karen army destroyed another bridge to block junta access on July 6, in Kawthoolei Doo Tha Htoo District, on the road leading from the main highway in Kyaikto toward the Kyaiktiyo mountain monastery, a popular pilgrimage destination. About 20 cars were on the mountain at the time, and they can’t get out. (U U Hpa-an Thar 7/6)
The junta massed troops and attacked 2 Kachin army positions, leading to protracted battles.
An intense battle between the Kachin and junta armies has raged in the Sadone area of Kachin State since June 25. Three hundred junta troops moved in to “clear territory”, and air strikes began the next day; there have been at least 10 bombings. Kachin forces made a tactical withdrawal due to the air strikes, and are watching for an opportunity to counter-attack. (Mizzima 7/3, The Irrawaddy 7/6)
A column of junta troops approached Kachin government headquarters at Laiza and clashed with a Kachin army position in Namsanyang village in Waingmaw Township, 9 km from Laiza on July 3. A fierce battle ensued. The Kachin army controls the main road between Bhamo and the state capital Myitkyina, and the junta is trying to retake it. Both sides have sent reinforcements. Thousands of local residents fled the area while others sheltered in a Christian temple. (Khit Thit Media)
The junta doggedly fought toward Htantalan town, but the Chin forces sprang a surprise attack in the south.
In Chin State, the junta renewed its attempt to re-invade Htantalan after being expelled by Chin forces earlier this year. On July 3 it launched air strikes and sent troops forward from Hakha. Air strikes and heavy artillery have forced the Chin defenders back, as the junta column advances slowly toward Htantalan. (The Irrawaddy 7/4, 7/6)
Meanwhile, Chin forces suddenly attacked a junta camp in the far south, in eastern Paletwa Township, capturing some weapons. Chin forces have not been very active in Paletwa, where the Arakan Army is strong on the western side; the AA has sat on its hands since last November, however, suddenly breaking off its fight against the junta for reasons that were never made clear. (The Irrawaddy 7/6)
The National Unity Government awarded Chin defense forces US$190,000 as a bounty for their destruction of two junta armored vehicles, which are like trackless tanks, in April. The NUG offers bounties for the capture or destruction of tanks, airplanes, and other junta weaponry.
Alarmed by a string of ground defeats, the junta poured in troops and air strikes to try to regain lost territory in Karenni State.
After completely losing control of Mese Township to Karenni defense forces in late June, the junta is shipping in reinforcements by helicopter to avoid further territory losses and to try to retake Mese. The junta has retaken the two camps of the BGF battalions in Mese that defected from the junta to the Karenni side, but the Karenni are currently besieging those camps. The junta shifted six battalions from northern Shan State to the Shan-Karenni border, and 300 troops are massed in Ywathit in eastern Bawlakhe Township, near Mese. (Khit Thit Media 7/5) Those troops are looting food from local homes and slaughtering livestock because they have no rations of their own, according to residents. (Kantarawaddy Times 7/7)
Karenni defense forces captured 2 junta Thai border camps in Shadaw Township on June 25, and subsequently routed a reinforcement column on June 29. The news was just published. The junta had abandoned the camps after Karenni forces cut off the supply routes; when the Karreni cleared the area they found weapons left behind: grenades, mortar rounds, bullets, etc. When a junta column came through on June 29, the Karenni launched a 6-hour attack that killed 2 officers and 4 troops and captured 10 weapons, some grenades and bombs, and a lot of ammunition. Jets bombed the battlefield, killing a Karenni soldier. (Khit Thit Media 7/6)
Chinese manipulation in the north-------------------
The Northern Alliance’s member armies, the Arakan, Ta’ang, and Kokang, signed a letter on July 1 threatening anyone who disrupts “foreign investments” (e.g. Chinese projects) in their territories. (Mizzima 7/3) This is the latest in a series of public statements from northern ethnic armies that reflect strong Chinese influence in the border region. Chinese manipulation could disrupt the solidarity of the national resistance fight against the Naypyitaw junta, favored by Beijing, but so far the northern ethnic armies continue to fight the junta, regardless of these Chinese-induces public statements. A pro-junta ethnic Lisu militia shot at a Chinese business convoy in Kachin State on June 27. Meanwhile, the junta is planting mine fields around Chinese projects, endangering neighboring farmers and livestock. (Nikkei Asia 7/3)
After twelve junta troops fled the Mawyawaddy junta navy base near Tavoy (Dawei) in Kawthoolei’s Beit-Tavoy District on June 27, 27 more troops ran off with their weapons on July 3, making 39 desertions there in a week. One of the latest is a lieutenant corporal. Again, it happened during a night patrol, and these escapees were in three cars. As last time, junta troops searched nearby villages and forests for the deserters, in vain. (Ayeyarwaddy Times 7/3) Then on June 5, three junta soldiers on guard duty in Tavoy Township dropped their weapons and escaped. (Ayeyarwaddy Times 7/6)
A leaked junta general directive instructs local commanders to withdraw outposts and checkpoints with fewer than 20 troops into larger ones, in order to beef up security at administrative buildings in anticipation of PDF attacks. It says the PDFs may wear junta army or police uniforms when carrying out these attacks. (Khit Thit Media 7/4) This could explain the disappearance of road checkpoints from whole townships in Irrawaddy and Bago Regions recently. The part about uniforms may indicate a fear of junta units defecting and attacking junta positions, as happened in Karenni State.
The trend of junta officer defections continues, with a police chief and 2 deputy chiefs fleeing their posts in Arakan State on July 3 along with their families. Troops began a search for them. (DVB 7/5) Junta officers led an entire battalion to surrender in Karenni State in late June.
Junta manpower is so depleted that in Kawthoolei’s Doo Tha Htoo District, it has ordered military wives and children to hold weapons and help guard junta military, police, and administrative positions. This comes in the midst of a wave of successful attacks by Karen army Brigade 1 and allied PDFs. The junta is also planting landmines around its positions for protection against attacks, but at least one military family member has lost a leg after stepping on the mines. (Ayeyarwaddy Times 7/7)
In Beit-Tavoy District, junta troops have thoroughly looted villages in Thayetcaung Township and are selling the stolen goods in Thayetchaung town. Troops took food, clothing, motorcycles, make up, furniture, electronics, etc. from local homes. (Khit Thit Media 7/6) The former Burma army (Tatmadaw) is now nothing more than a criminal mafia.
Similarly, 60 troops marched into a village in Wetlet Township of Sagaing Region on July 6 and shot 7 middle-aged market vendors, 4 women and 3 men, at their shops. No reason was given, it was random murder. (People's Spring 7/6)
Two junta soldiers got into a dispute and shot each other fatally at a bridge checkpoint in Ma U Pin, Irrawaddy Region, on July 4. (Khit Thit Media 7/4) Then on June 6 two junta police argued and one killed the other, in Minhla in Bago Region. (Myaelatt Athan 7/6)
People’s Defense Forces (PDFs)-----------------
PDFs captured a junta camp and killed 10 troops in Mawlaik Township of Sagaing Region on July 1, capturing weapons and a lot of ammunition. The junta counter-attacked with air strikes. (People's Spring 7/1) On July 5 the junta returned with overwhelming force, firing large 120mm mortars and airlifting in 80 troops by helicopter. The PDFs were gone by then, however. (Khit Thit Media 7/6) The net result is that a formerly secure area for the junta is now contested territory.
Also on July 1, a PDF drone-bombed on a junta army camp in Wetlet Township killed 13 troops and wounded others. The PDF said it was retaliation against the junta troops who ambushed and killed 14 PDF soldiers on June 26. The following day PDFs bombed a junta column at Shaynmakah village in the same township, killing 10 troops and injuring others. (Khit Thit Media 7/2, 7/3)
PDFs in Chaung Oo township fired on a junta/Pyu Saw Htee camp in an occupied monastery at Kanji Kone in Chaung Oo Township on July 5, sparking a 6-hour battle that destroyed most of the camp and killed 10 of the 70 terrorists inside. Three PDF soldiers were also killed and 5 wounded. A jet dropped 4 bombs. The remaining junta troops fled by boat, and then the boat was attacked by another PDF, killing one and wounding others. Other troops then came back and re-occupied the destroyed camp and burned 2 villages, and 2 troops were killed by landmines. There are 2 other terrorist camps in Chaung Oo Township. (The Irrawaddy, Mizzima 7/6)
A massive battle started July 1 at Setuttayah in far western Magway Region near the Arakan State border. PDFs destroyed a police barracks at Tapwin on June 15, then began setting up local Revolutionary administration. Junta troops came from Ann Township in Arakan State to root out the PDFs, and are now locked in a raging battle. Both sides are enclosed in a tight location, so casualties are likely to be high. (Myaelatt Athan 7/7)
PDFs fired mortars into the junta’s northwest command center in Monywa on July 2, killing 3 troops and damaging communications infrastructure. (Mizzima 7/6)
After two PDF camps and a PDF column were surprised and ambushed by junta troop last week with heavy casualties in Sagaing Township, another junta raid on a PDF camp in Pauk Township of Magway Region was detected early and successfully defeated. Fifty junta troops and Pyu Saw Htee militia came at the camp on June 30, but the PDF had advance notice and prepared landmines and snipers. Casualties aren’t known, but the junta column was forced to retreat without reaching its destination. (Myaelatt Athan 7/3) On the other hand, another junta raid in Sagaing Township killed 5 PDF soldiers who were guarding a village so that the residents could escape safely. (Kachin News Group 7/4)
Junta troops attacked a village in Wetlet Township of Sagaing Region on July 2 where a PDF had a weapons manufacturing shop. The PDF fought to defend the village but was overwhelmed. The shop was lost and troops burned nearly 40 houses. No PDF soldiers were harmed, however. (Than Lwin Khet News 7/6)
News and a video emerged of a battle in Paungpyin Township of northern Sagaing Region that occurred June 27-29. A junta column of 100 troops was met by PDFs, who say they killed or wounded 30 troops including an officer and captured weapons. Two dead are shown in the video. A PDF fighter also died. The junta bombed with helicopters and jets. The junta retreated on June 30. (Khit Thit Media 7/3)
Advanced drone warfare is spreading among Revolution forces. Pioneered in Kawthoolei by specialized PDFs such as Federal Wings, Angry Birds, and Cloud Wings under the Karen army, the use of large six-rotor drones carrying 80mm bombs was taught to eight PDFs from southern Shan State and Naypyitaw Region in a seminar that just ended. (People's Spring 7/6) The advanced drones are more accurate and deadly than the consumer-grade drones first used, and seriously disrupt junta military activities. When a 30-vehicle junta convoy was completely annihilated in Chin State in April, it was mostly accomplished with drone bombing.
PDFs in Khin Oo Township of Sagaing Region are abstaining from battle due to a shortage of weapons and ammunition. The situation is similar in Kanpetlet Township of Chin State. (Myaelatt Athan 7/5)
Explosions rocked 12 Yangon townships on the night of July 4. Bombs went off in North and South Dagon, Mayangone, Insein, Hlaingthaya, Hlaing, East Dagon, South and North Okalappa, Shwepyitha, Mingaladon, and Bahan, all within short intervals of each other, indicating coordination. In some townships as many as 4 explosions occurred. (Khit Thit Media 7/4) Tight clampdowns have driven urban PDFs deep underground, but such action indicates that they are still there and still potent. Normally, troops converge at explosion sites, cordon off neighborhoods, and search buildings after blasts, but with so many happening at once, the junta’s ability to control the situation may be exceeded.
The junta has ordered bars and nightclubs closed and has banned live music and DJs. The measure is claimed to be in response to the proliferation of illicit drugs in the venues. A source says several children of junta generals have suffered overdoses in the nightclubs. (The Irrawaddy 7/6) Despite making a show of drug interdiction, the regime has profited enormously from the manufacture and sale of illicit drugs, which have spiked since the Feb. 2021 coup d'état. The negative consequences have apparently come back to bite the generals. The response, as usual, is a further imposition of force.
Political and economic-------------------
Junta troops raided the offices of the regime’s own petroleum industry corporation, the Myanmar Oil & Gas Enterprise (MOGE) in Naypitaw on July 6 and detained the entire management department staff. They are searching for a watermelon (inside source) who leaked information about the MOGE opening secret bank accounts to try to circumvent American and European sanctions. The MOGE’s accounts have been frozen, so it seeks to transfer assets to secret accounts that mask its ownership. (Mizzima 7/6) The subterfuge is evidence of the sanctions’ effectiveness in depriving the illegal regime of financial support.
The junta stole thousands of tons of rice from merchants in Wakema in the Irrawaddy Region, a rice production area on June 30. In another act of banditry, fifty military trucks went to 60 vendors and simply seized the rice, then left the area via Pathein. (Ayeyarwaddy Times 7/2) The massive theft causes economic hardship and food shortage in the civilian population.
The illegal military regime cannot even keep the lights on at the airport. Yangon International Airport went dark the night of July 1, and travelers had to use their phone lights to navigate the murky hallways. Some people posted pictures of the scene to social media, which the junta labeled as treason. A taxi driver called it a sign of “how messed up this country is.” Electricity has only been available for a few hours per day on a regular basis after the coup. (Khit Thit Media 7/1)
The junta is commandeering private bus lines by force to transport troops. Due an increasing shortage of military trucks, as well as a strategy of hiding troops on civilian transport, the illegal regime is forcing passenger bus lines to divert their fleets to serve the rogue army. (Khit Thit Media 7/2)
The United Nations High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR) has classified the junta’s blockage of aid to victims of Cyclone Mocha as an international crime. The illegal regime has banned aid agencies from serving liberated areas, where most storm victims are, and has diverted emergency aid for its own purposes. (The Irrawaddy 7/2) Other UN offices accuse the regime of war crimes. Still, the UN continues to treat the criminal junta as if it were a national government, delivering millions of dollars of humanitarian aid into the junta’s hands, and the UN plans to do nothing about the ongoing genocide.
- စီၤ ထံဆၢ