Myanmar's anti-junta militia takes on army in Mandalay

Myanmar security forces backed by armoured vehicles clashed yesterday with a newly formed militia group in the second biggest city of Mandalay.

Since the army seized power on Feb 1 and removed the elected government of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the security forces have put down protests opposing military rule. In response, opponents of the coup known as People's Defence Forces have sprung up.

Up to now, fighting involving lightly armed militias has been mainly confined to small towns and rural areas, but a group claiming to be Mandalay's new People's Defence Force said its members responded after the army raided one of its bases.

"The fight has started. There will be more fights," a member of the militia identified as Captain Tun Tauk Naing said by telephone.

The sound of gun fire could be heard in video footage taken by a resident of the area. About 20 soldiers had carried out the raid on the group, sparking a gun fight which prompted the military to deploy three armoured cars to the area, Myanmar Now reported.

Another official from the militia told the Mizzima news portal that six of its members had been arrested and two soldiers killed.

The army-owned Myawaddy Televisionsaid on its Telegram message channel that security forces had raided a house and "armed terrorists" had fought back with small weapons and bombs.

It said four "terrorists" had been killed and eight arrested while some security forces were seriously hurt. - REUTERS