Tragic Ambush: 26 Lives Lost, Including PDF Members

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – September 23 Update
Published by MoeMaKa on September 24, 2023

Tragic Ambush: 26 Lives Lost, Including PDF Members

On the night of September 22, a dreadful ambush occurred near Cheyardaw Village, just one mile from Myaung in the Sagaing Division. A convoy of 26 People’s Defense Forces (PDF) members were attacked by military council troops as they were en route to Cheyardaw Village from a nearby location, as reported by BBC Burmese News. Disturbingly, the attack resulted in the deaths of 22 PDF members and three civilians, according to certain news sources.

These PDF members hailed from Kyawt Min Village in Myinmu Township and were mobilized to Cheyardaw Village following reports of military council activities in a nearby area. Tragically, they fell into an ambush orchestrated by military council forces, resulting in a substantial loss of life. This attack is reportedly one of the deadliest incidents involving the PDF.

The affected PDF groups were the Myinmu People’s Defense Force, Black Eagle Defense Force-MMU, and the Myaung Revolution Army – MRA.

Photographs of a vehicle and motorcycles, allegedly belonging to the defense forces, were posted on the military council’s Telegram channels, claiming to have confiscated weapons and ammunition.

The fallen PDF members were laid to rest on September 23, while military council troops entered Myaung the day following the ambush, as per news reports.

Reflecting on this incident, it appears that the military council forces had premeditated the attack upon learning of the PDF’s presence in the villages. It was anticipated that the PDF forces would move in the opposite direction once they received information about the military council’s activities, rendering them vulnerable to the ambush.

The PDF’s limitations include their inability to establish a significant presence throughout the area for guarding, transportation from one location to another in groups after assembling, and challenges in obtaining detailed enemy movement information due to communication difficulties arising from cut phone lines. The military council seems to have exploited this by hampering the PDF’s communication with their supporters to access information.

While PDF forces, composed of local residents, may be well-placed within villages, they currently lack certain characteristics of a fully operational armed force. These include patrolling, intelligence gathering, and maintaining seamless communication among various units. These factors make PDF forces susceptible to enemy ambushes.

PDF forces typically acquire information easily due to local support, encompassing relatives, friends, and community members. However, this wide knowledge of their activities within the villages is a double-edged sword. Leaked information to the military council could jeopardize their operations, as seen in this incident.

Guerrilla warfare persists in the upper Anyar regions, encompassing northern areas of the Magway Division and much of the Sagaing Division, with many armed groups based in the villages where they originated. Despite more than two years of conflict, the military council has not managed to gain control over the Sagaing Division and the northern part of the Magway Division. While PDF forces carry out operations like inspecting roads, mining military council convoys, and mounting ambushes, they have yet to reach a point where they can thwart military council raids on villages.

In this situation, essential requirements include diversifying their arsenal with additional weaponry, military experience, mechanical expertise, political organization, unified military command, and cohesive armed forces. Achieving these levels is a long-term endeavor, warranting contemplation of a protracted armed revolution. Additionally, the sustenance and livelihoods of local communities and the vocational activities that support their well-being must be considered. As the armed revolution depends on the encouragement and backing of local residents rather than foreign support, prioritizing the survival and livelihoods of these communities becomes paramount.