KIA Resists Junta’s Offensive to Recapture Strategic Towns Critical For regime’s supply-lines

The Military Council is intensifying its efforts to regain control of Maw Luu and Shwe Pyi Aye towns, both under the control of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the People’s Defense Force (PDF), and located on the border of Kachin State and Sagaing Region.

Since late 2023, the KIA and PDF have held control over the two towns. The Junta’s troops are now launching a series of offensives to recapture them, a PDF officer based in Homalin Township told KNG.

“Since January the Junta’s troops have been on the offensive trying to recapture Shwe Pyi Aye. After an initial retreat, they regrouped and reinforced by around 60 additional troops. Their current strength is estimated to be around 200. Currently they are patrolling the nearby villages and have not yet reached Shwe Pyi Aye”, the officer said.

Geographically, Maw Luu is a part of Indaw Township, while Shwe Pyi Aye is situated within Homalin Township.

A Homalin PDF officer remarked, “It can be said that Shwe Pyi Aye is a strategically pivotal town for the Military Council, as it provides easy access to Homalin and Paungbyin. Positioned on the main logistics route for Junta troops, losing control of Shwe Pyi Aye would cut off their land logistics.

In Kawlin, the resistance forces control the land routes, forcing the Military Council to primarily rely on waterways. This is why they are so eager to get Shwe Pyi Aye back”,

Similarly, in its efforts to regain control over Maw Luu town, currently under the control of the National Unity Government (NUG), the Military Council has significantly increased military activities and reinforcements since February 10th, according to an official from Indaw PDF.

Shwe Pyi Aye was initially taken by resistance forces on November 22nd. However to regain control of the town, the Military Council launched a large-scale march on January 25th, compelling the resistance forces to temporarily retreat.

However on February 4th, the resistance forces managed to reclaim the town once more. Following this, Junta troops refrained from directly advancing towards Shwe Pyi Aye, instead focusing on military activities in villages like Khotaung, Meizali, and Naungsankyin.

The Junta troops also utilized shelling and airstrikes to pave the way for an assault  on Shwe Pyi Aye, resulting in the burning and destruction of houses in Naungsankyin and Meizali villages.

“It looks like they are preparing to recapture Maw Luu. Previously, about 60 Junta forces were stationed at the Na Bar intersection, approximately 10 miles from Maw Luu. In recent days, their numbers have swelled to around 200 due to reinforcements. Yesterday, they advanced towards this side, leading to clashes with our forces”, he told KNG.

For the last five days, the Military Council has been reinforcing troops at the Na Bar intersection, situated between Indaw and Maw Luu. On February 20th, KIA, PDF, and the All Burma Students’ Democratic Front (ABSDF) collaborated to ambush the Junta troops.

Maw Luu, situated on the border of Kachin and Sagaing, stands at a strategic town on the highway linking Mandalay and Myitkyina.

Regaining control of both Shwe Pyi Aye, bordering Hpakant Township in Kachin State, and Maw Luu, bordering Mohnyin in Kachin State, has become a strategic imperative for the Military Council, which seeks to launch military operations in Kachin State.

Kawlin, another town situated on the Sagaing-Kachin border, was captured by the resistance forces on November 6th. However, they were compelled to withdraw from the town in early February following a major counterattack by the Military Council.

After regaining control of Kawlin, the Military Council shifted its focus towards recapturing Maw Luu and Shwe Pyi Aye.

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