A sinking military vessel has been forced to dock at Maedin village in Kani township, Sagaing, after Kani-PDF and forces allied to it spent five days attacking a fleet of 11 boats which had been carrying jade from the Myanmar Gems Enterprise (MGE), a spokesperson of Kani-PDF (KLG) told DVB.
The fleet had being traveling from Hkamti township—location of the jadeite valuation facility of MGE, a US sanctioned firm which the State Department in April called a “key economic resource” of the junta—since last month, transporting stones worthy of sale to Monywa.
Incredibly, the stricken boat began to sink after running across an aquatic mine, improvised by the KLG.
“One of the military’s vessels is sinking. They tethered the boat between two others to tow it and continue their journey, but it is now stranded near Maedin, where the others have also moored,” Aung Thu, a member of the Kani-PDF said.
According to him, the Kani PDF and its allies—the Kani-PDF1 (KPDF1) and the Dictatorship Revolution Peoples’ Army (DRPA)—have followed the troubled fleet to Maedin and continue to shoot at the vessels. Casualties amongst the seamen are currently unknown.
Past reports suggest that troops have been using vessels of the Burmese navy to ship weapons and food down the Chindwin River to Hkamti township since the start of the coup. This is the second time, Aung Thu says, that it has sent a fleet to transport a precious jade cargo to Monywa.
The fleet launched from MGE’s dock at Hkamti one long month ago, docking at Homalin where many of the ships’ crew deserted, going AWOL from the military upon getting feet on land.
It took the navy 20 days to find replacement sailors.
The MGE cargo entered the Kani region five days ago, where the fleet ran into even worse luck in the guise of Sagaing’s fighting PDFs.
“Our team and our allied forces have fought with them nearly everyday since then,” Aung Thu told DVB.
The Kani-PDF (KLG) says it used cannon, aquatic mines and RPGs against the fleet during their mission. As the vessels moor off Maedin, the fight is ongoing.
Amidst its rout of the jade fleet, Kani-PDF (KLG) yesterday announced that around 100 soldiers and Pyusawhti militiamen were killed during a series of landmine attacks on military convoys in both Chan Thar Su village and Minkin township. Aung Thu confirms that these attacks—widely reported across Burmese media today—and the numbers killed, are accurate.
Following the attacks, livid troops raided Chan Thar Su village, destroying homes and looting belongings.
“Our team reported that they (the military) were even collecting up limbs that had been lost by military personnel during the fight. It took so long that they reported hearing soldiers shouting into the night,” Aung Thu said.
The PDF member says his team has not yet left the battlefield, and is watching the situation. According to him, Kani-PDF relies largely on homemade landmines when launching its attacks.
“Even though we invented and produced our own arms, they still do not compare with the military’s weapons. So, we rely mostly on explosive devices as it is easy and causes large casualty numbers.”
Aung Thu says the group has lost four members whilst experimenting in the creation of landmines.
KLG says it has so far produced aquatic mines, cannon, heavy artillery, and small arms to repel invading troops from the Burmese army, purportedly to devastating effect.
NUG’s Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration (MOHAI) has announced that more than 2,000 members of the security forces were killed and nearly 700 injured in the month from Nov. 7 to Dec. 6. In this time, a total of 171 battles are said to have occurred in Sagaing, the highest number of any region.
“Due to the Internet being cut off in Kani, we have been facing problems in responsively sending out footage from our missions to social media, although we keep records of images and videos when we fight troops,” Aung Thu says in defense of the high casualty numbers his force regularly reports.
“Until now, we didn’t get any support from the NUG. If we get proper weapons we can defeat them very quickly,” he added.
After speaking to DVB, KLG uploaded two videos to their Facebook page—one taken with a drone—showing that one was also hit by an improved mortar shell fired by PDFs.
Kani-PDF was formed on March 16 and currently claims around 3,000 members in its group alone.
Currently, phone reception inside of Kani township is patchy and only 2G services are available. It has been three months since the junta cut internet service in seven of Sagaing’s townships in preparation of launching its operations in the region.