Almost the entire village of Sezin in Hpakant Township, Kachin State was burned down on Tuesday after being bombed and torched by military regime jets and junta troops.
Several dozen villagers were reportedly killed and wounded in the attacks, which destroyed between 400 and 500 homes. However, the exact number of casualties is unknown, according to residents and Kachin media outlets.
But five villagers were confirmed killed by the junta airstrikes, a resident told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday.
The airstrikes and arson attacks came after a combined force of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the Kachin Regional People’s Defense Force (PDF) raided and seized a military base outside Sezin Village and a pro-junta militia camp in nearby Shwe Pyi Myint Village on early Monday morning.
Fierce clashes continued in Sezin Village on Tuesday as the KIA and the local PDF attacked regime troops and militia from the pro-junta Shanni Nationalities Army (SNA), who were defending the police station in the center of the village.
During the firefight, regime jet fighters bombarded the residential area around the police station twice, while junta reinforcements were airlifted in by helicopters, said a resident.
Regime jets launched three more airstrikes on Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning. After the airstrikes, SNA militia torched almost all the houses still standing.
Regime forces also opened fire on villagers who were trying to put out the fires, added the resident.
At least two villagers were gunned down by junta forces while trying to extinguish the fires, according to the resident.
On Wednesday morning some residents fled the village, but many others are still trapped in the village or its monastery, said local media and residents.
Villagers sheltering at the monastery have been threatened by regime forces that they will be shot if they go outside.
“They [regime forces] violate all military codes of conduct and all laws as they have even killed prisoners of war, children and civilians across the country. They are burning down villages. They also conduct indiscriminate killings since they regard all civilians as their enemies,” said the Sezin resident.
He added: “They [regime forces] don’t follow any military rules and regulations and international laws as they are not soldiers anymore. They are just murderers.”
Clashes between resistance forces and the junta soldiers continued until Wednesday morning.
In mid-July, several days of intense fighting between regime soldiers and a combined force of the KIA and PDFs took place in the area. The regime launched airstrikes after suffering heavy losses in the clashes.
Amid near-daily attacks from PDFs and ethnic armed organizations, regime forces across the country have relentlessly committed atrocities including the arbitrary killings of civilians, extrajudicial killings of resistance detainees, burning people alive, using civilians as human shields, air and artillery strikes on residential areas, looting and burning houses and acts of sexual violence.
Junta airstrikes in Kayah State
A civilian was killed and two others wounded on Tuesday when regime jets bombed residential areas of Loikaw District in southeast Myanmar’s Kayah State.
On Tuesday morning, the jets conducted three airstrikes on Dawpapar Village outside Loilin Lay, a town in Loikaw District, without any provocation, said the Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF).
One civilian was killed and two injured in the bombing, while a medical clinic and house were destroyed.
After the airstrike, the junta’s artillery battalion 250, which is based in Loikaw, shelled Dawpapar Village many times, added the KNDF.
The KNDF said that the military regime is brazenly committing war crimes by conducting deliberate air and artillery strikes on civilian targets for no reason.