Clashes between resistance forces and regime troops have intensified near Pazi Gyi village in Kantbalu Township, Sagaing Region, the site two weeks ago of the largest massacre by the regime since the 2021 coup.
The clashes broke out in Lay Twin Zin village, one kilometer from Pazi Gyi, on Saturday, when around 200 regime troops moved from Pazi Gyi village to Lay Twin Zin and torched the village. Local resistance forces clashed with regime troops on three occasions on Saturday and many junta soldiers were injured, according to a local resistance fighter. No casualties were reported among the resistance forces.
“There was a clash in Chaung Shae village yesterday [Sunday] and there is more fighting today,” a local resistance fighter told The Irrawaddy.
Around 100 of the 150 homes in Lay Twin Zin village were set alight and five villagers were captured by the regime troops in one of Saturday’s raids. One was killed and two have since been released, according to a volunteer who is helping Kantbalu residents.
“One of the released villagers said one captive was killed, but the body has not yet been found,” the volunteer told The Irrawaddy.
On April 11, the Myanmar military conducted a series of airstrikes on Pazi Gyi village that killed more than 170 civilians. Nine days after the massacre, a Myanmar military jet fighter returned to bomb Pazi Gyi village before ground troops torched about 100 of the nearly 200 houses following the airstrike, according to the Pazi Gyi residents. Around 200 regime troops have also raided Pazi Gyi and nearby villages over the past week. The troops are currently stationed in Htan Taw village, about 8 kilometers from Pazi Gyi.
A resident said the clashes were ongoing in Kantbalu, and some 10 injured soldiers were removed by a regime vehicle at Ma Lae village on Monday morning.
“We heard both the sound of artillery and gunfire the whole day but we don’t know where they [junta forces] are shelling,” a Ma Lae village resident told The Irrawaddy.
Thousands of residents from Pazi Gyi, Htan Taw, Chaung Thar, Chaung Shae, Ma Lae, Yoar Thar Yoar, Lay Twin Zin and Mae Zataw villages are currently taking shelter in the nearby forest.
“We are all worried there will be another aerial massacre,” said U Min, who lost seven relatives in the April 11 massacre.
His father, two elder brothers, a younger brother, two nieces and a nephew were killed in the Pazi Gyi aerial bombardment.
“We have suffered a lot of trauma,” U Min told The Irrawaddy.