At least 19 troops loyal to Myanmar’s junta and two members of a militia formed to protect residents from the military were killed during a firefight in Saigaing region’s war-torn Kalay township, sources said Friday, as fighting drove some 3,000 civilians to flee for safety in the nearby mountains.
Fighting broke out between the military and members of the Kalay People’s Defense Force (PDF) around 2:00 p.m. on Thursday as junta soldiers began a raid on the villages of Doe Nwe and Ashaysee, around 30 miles south of downtown Kalay, a member of the PDF told RFA’s Myanmar Service, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal.
“The battle went on for six hours … and only ended after 8:00 p.m.,” the source said in recounting the fighting that killed the 19 people. “Additionally, two [civilian] men from Tin Thar [village] who were on their way to Doe Nwe village on a motorcycle were killed when soldiers fired at them. Myint Thein and Tun Naung actually were ordinary villagers and not our fighters,” the militiaman said.