A senior commander and a large number of regime soldiers were killed in several days of fighting with resistance fighters near Moe Tar Lay, Sagaing Region.
The northern branch of the Burma Students’ Democratic Front (ABSDF) and the Kachin People’s Defence Force (KPDF) ambushed 100 soldiers from Light Infantry Division 77 about four miles from the village on the banks of the Irrawaddy River in Katha Township on 17 January. The column was patrolling Katha, Chaungwa and Moe Tar Lay villages near the border with Kachin State, where fighting is frequent.
“They use to come to Moe Tar Lay, but this time we didn’t let them in and opened fire, killing about 30 soldiers, including a strategic commander,” a KPDF soldier told KNG, wishing to remain anonymous. He said many regime soldiers were also wounded and four resistance fighters were wounded.
The next day, the military sent three fighter jets to attack the groups near Moe Tar Lay. Seven people were killed and at least eight wounded when a shell struck a house during a donation ceremony. Another house in the village was badly damaged in the airstrikes, which also targeted the nearby village of Taik Kon. The following day,19 January, they flew two attacks at noon and 5pm, injuring three ABSDF soldiers and a KPDF soldier.
A couple of days before the fighting, LID 77 abducted Maung Naing Lin (17), Maung Tun Lin Aung (15), Ko Myint Khine (30) and Ko Maung Ngwe (30) and Ko Myo Myo (30) and used them as human shields while on patrol. The victims haven’t yet been released.