Intense fighting between junta forces and an alliance of resistance groups led to airstrikes around midday on Friday in northern Htigyaing Township, Sagaing Region, resistance sources said.
The allied local resistance fighters initially intercepted two junta columns, made up of some 180 soldiers altogether, shortly after the columns met north of Htigyaing near Htan Kone village on October 11 and combined to form a larger force before advancing west towards Pyin Su village.
After resistance groups had trapped the junta troops inside Htan Kone for more than a day, a junta fighter jet flew over the battlefield twice around noon on Friday, dropping a total of eight bombs, according to members of the People’s Defence Forces (PDF) of Htigyaing Township.
“They may have dropped the bombs in order to clear an escape path for their besieged columns, or because they had suffered major losses. It was just one fighter jet but it passed overhead twice and dropped bombs where they believed we were hiding,” one Htigyaing PDF member said.
He added that no Htigyaing PDF member or other local resistance group members had been injured by the bombs.
Despite the airstrike, allied resistance forces still had the junta forces surrounded at around 3pm that day, prompting junta forces to set up a base inside the Htan Kone village monastery, from which they began firing heavy artillery into the surrounding area, the Htigyaing PDF fighter said.
Although Htan Kone is located only seven miles north of Htigyaing, high hills separating the village from the town made it difficult for military personnel based in Htigyaing’s urban area to fire heavy artillery onto the site of battle, ultimately forcing them to call in air support, according to a resident of Htigyaing with knowledge of the airstrike.
He added that few people had been hurt because villagers had started to flee as soon as the fighting began.
“Many of those from Htan Kone and Pyin Su had to flee to the north. Some others are now in Htigyaing while a few stayed behind to guard their villages, but I still don’t know all the details,” the Htigyaing resident said.
Myanmar Now has yet to independently confirm the number of casualties among the local civilian population or the extent of the damage to their homes.
Htigyaing Township is part of Sagaing Region’s Katha District, a stronghold of the armed resistance against Myanmar’s military regime. The district shares a border with Kachin State, which remains under the effective control of the Kachin Independence Army, an anti-junta ethnic armed group.
SOURCE – MYANMAR NOW