The Burma Army (BA) has launched a massive offensive against the People’s Defence Forces (PDFs) and other resistance groups fighting to overthrow the military regime in Sagaing Region after the groups killed and wounded many BA soldiers. KNG spoke with the resistance fighters on the phone for their views on the regime’s recent clearance campaign in the area.
A PDF officer from Htigyaing:
The BA have targeted Sagaing Region because many residents have fearlessly resisted the military regime. That’s why they’ve burnt down so many houses and destroyed the property of many people in Sagaing Region. BA have also destroyed many villages in Htigyaing Township, and have flown airstrikes on PDF and villages there.
Their aim is to oppress their opponents. Their message: if you oppose us, we’ll destroy you! They’ve no regard for the people; they want to control everything. They want people to accept their regime, but they don’t, so they brutally oppress them.
A Salingyi Special Task Force Officer:
There are many powerful groups—many revolutionary forces—operating in Sagaing Region. We’re trying to build a civil administration and that’s why they (BA) are using excessive force to attack us.
A PDF soldier from Kanbalu Township:
(Min Aung Hlaing) must’ve thought he could easily make a military coup and overthrow the civilian government in February (2021). He said there was nothing he couldn’t do… But till today he cannot rule the country. The National Unity Government (NUG) is trying to establish a liberated area in the Sagaing Region. They (BA) already know this. I think they expect the revolutionary forces to launch an offensive military operation to capture all the towns in Sagaing Region. They (BA) want people to feel fear and that’s why they’ve burnt people’s houses, destroyed their villages and launched a clearance operation in Sagaing Region.
A Student Revolutionary Force soldier in Mingin Township:
They (BA) understand that the Northern Alliance is helping us. They know that a lot of our weapons and ammunition come from these groups. Our troops like to attack Pyusawhtee (a People’s Militia Force that’s trained by the BA ) because we want to gain military experience. Pyusawhtee is a weak compared to the BA, which is why we target them. A second source of our weapons is recovered during clashes with Pyusawhtee. The Pyusawhtee are neither brave nor do they have a military strategy and they have asked the BA for help, so they have now launched an offensive against us.
A Chaung-U Revolution Army 2 soldier:
They (BA) don’t care about the people. During the fighting they fire indiscriminately (everywhere). We have to take care of our people and cannot launch attacks like them. They are aware of this. Besides, they are experienced soldiers who have received training. As for us, we joined the armed struggle only after the military coup. We lack weapons and military experience. They know our weaknesses and I think that is why they are trying to destroy us.
Another problem is that information is leaking out from NUG’s top leadership. For example, how many rifles and ammunition each battalion has. After its leaked, the BA will launch an offensive against the PDFs. This has already happened in Ayadaw and Myinmu townships in Sagaing Region, with many civilians killed in the attack (involving helicopters and ground troops).