After open fighting between troops loyal to Myanmar’s junta and members of the Mandalay People’s Defense Force (PDF) militia, the militia had to abandon an office in Chanmya Tharzi township of the country’s second-largest city. Mandalay PDF combat team leader Bo Zeegwat spoke to RFA’s Myanmar Service about the first clashes in the city of more than 1.7 million people since the military overthrew the government on Feb. 1.
RFA: What happened to the office?
Bo Zeegwat: It was just a small office and it’s not the only place we have. We have several other places. There were a few people and a few things inside. They must have some informers to find our place. The building was surrounded and there were four snipers firing at us. Since we didn’t have enough manpower and weaponry, we had to withdraw.
RFA: When and how was the raid launched?
Bo Zeegwat: It started at around 7 am. Some of our men tried to get them from the rear but there were too many of them. We couldn’t get our men out of the building because we did not have enough men to rescue them. Finally we had to withdraw.
RFA: What do you want to tell our listeners?
Bo Zeegwat: One of the problems we are facing is there are too many civilians in the area because we are in a big city and we do not want people to get hurt. We had to suffer unnecessarily because we were trying not to get people nearby injured. And we have difficulty moving quickly from one place to another. We have decided to make our sacrifices and we have thought of the worst scenarios.
RFA: Do you think there were casualties among the soldiers?
Bo Zeegwat: It’s been confirmed that there were two killed on their side.
RFA: Now that this has happened in Mandalay, what do you think people should be prepared for in the future?
Bo Zeegwat: We have determined to fight back and we are now ready. You will hear about more action from us. We have made a lot of preparations and I think the situation will become more complicated.
Translated by Khin Maung Nyane.
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