After the Tatmadaw stopped the Internet, it sent thousands of soldiers to four townships in Sagaing Region near the border with Kachin State. Fearing the Burma Army (BA) soldiers and fierce fighting with resistance forces in the region, which has already been ravaged by conflict in recent months, at least ten villages were forced to flee.
Immediately after cutting off connectivity in Kawlin, Wontho, Bamauk and Pinlebu townships, the military sent more than 2,000 soldiers to the region, a local source told KNG.
“It looks like the Burma Army will launch a clearance operation in these townships,” the man said, explaining that villagers fled after over 500 Tatmadaw soldiers arrived in the western townships of Kawlin and Pinlebu. Some of the BA units are staying in the villages in southern Sagaing.
According to the source, military vehicles are arriving in the four townships every day. ”I think almost 100 vehicles arrived in Bamauk and Pinlebu townships today, but it’s difficult to say how many soldiers there were.”
After suffering heavy losses in recent battles against the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the People’s Defence Force (PDF), the Tatmadaw began to move more troops into the area.
According to Kachin resistance groups, 70 BA soldiers were killed between 22 and 27 September.
The BA shut down internet service on 26 September and attacked the KIA and the PDF in Wanbel Inn village with its fighter jet.
According to locals, connectivity has been cut off in 10 townships in Sagaing. However, due to poor communication, there are no reliable figures on how many people have fled or been displaced by the fighting.
Normally, the Tatmadaw deploys troops from southern Sagaing Region to southwestern Kachin State, but since suffering defeat in KIA and PDF ambushes it’s been sending soldiers from Kachin State to Sagaing Region. Locals expect clashes to intensify as more BA soldiers are in the region and PDF chapters have gained more battlefield experience and grown larger.