The Myanmar military have used arrested civilians as “human shields” as they fought to retake the rebel town of Mindat.
Soldiers raided the town set in the mountains of Chin State, in the north west of the country, on Saturday last week.
“We could not fight back while our people were being arrested and used as human shields,” one fighter told the Irrawaddy news site.
“They fired with artillery and continued to attack us,” he said.
With the town defenceless, the army deployed thousands more troops.
Now inhabitants live in fear of sweeping arrests as punishment for standing against the regime.
But the attack was met with resistance elsewhere, with rebels attacking military vehicles travelling to Mindat using single-shot hunting rifles.
They killed some 20 soldiers, captured six armoured vehicles and a weapons cache.
The continued fighting is proof that the popular uprising against military rule is far from spent.