At least ten Burma Army (BA) soldiers died in clashes with the All Burma Students’ Democratic Force (ABSDF) and a local branch of the People’s Defence Force (PDF) in Katha Township, Sagaing Region, a member of the PDF has told KNG.
On Monday morning, Lt Thalika led the resistance fighters in a raid on 39 BA soldiers camping in Aung Shwe Phyo mango farm outside of Mingalar Thukha. Following the landmine attack, both sides exchanged fire.
The PDF member explained that a few minutes before the ambush the BA fired artillery.
A couple hours later, ABSDF and PDF launched a second attack with 79mm mortars on the regime forces still in the mango farm from different directions, forcing the soldiers to retreat to the town of Katha, which inspired George Orwell’s fictional novel Burmese Days.
A local, who wished to remain anonymous told KNG, local residents saw the regime fighters fleeing into the town and some of them carrying the injured on stretchers. Of the 39 soldiers who were in the field, residents counted only 27 who retreated.
The KNG could not independently determine the death toll from the battle.
The soldiers arrived at the field on 1 May in the evening from Zaytikon, where they were staying with 31 other soldiers in a Buddhist monastery in the village.
Resistance groups and the Kachin Independence Army have clashed frequently with regime troops in the township on the border with Kachin State since the former groups took up arms against the dictatorship about a year ago, a few months after the military overthrew the democratic government.