Myanmar Civilian Death Toll Rises From Sagaing Fighting

By The Irrawaddy 5 July 2021

Around 41 civilians, including several children, were killed by Myanmar’s junta during a raid on villages in Tabayin (also known as Depayin) Township, Sagaing Region, on Friday.

The initial death toll from the attack has risen from 25 as more details of the violence emerge.

Villagers and the civilian resistance on Monday said 20 bodies had been identified, 15 civilians are injured and  around 50 people are missing.

The shootouts broke out near Boke Ywar and Satpyarkyin villages when civilian resistance fighters used homemade firearms to repel hundreds of junta troops raiding villages on Friday morning.

During prolonged firefights, around six schoolchildren and five university students who resisted the troops were killed, according to a villager who was involved.

The villager said there were at least 15 military casualties.

Junta troops used numerous artillery rounds against civilian targets and reportedly opened fire on fleeing villagers.

“It was not a real shootout. It was one-sided as there is no strong People Defense Force in the area. Young villagers used homemade firearms in self-defense. They are not well-trained,” a resident told The Irrawaddy.

Villagers said the troops were firing on any civilian they saw. After being caught by junta troops, six wounded resistance fighters, left behind by retreating civilian combatants, were shot in the head by soldiers.

Other resistance fighters and villagers were shot dead by junta troops on Saturday when they returned to look for the dead and wounded.

Around 6,000 people from more than 10 Sagaing Region villages in Tabayin Township have fled their homes since last Friday.

Residents say the security forces are searching forests for villagers and shooting at any civilians they see.

A 50-year-old female Boke villager, who was sheltering in a forest, died on Monday after being bitten by a poisonous snake.

“Looting villagers’ homes and shooting at fleeing civilians are some of the military regime’s human rights violations,” a villager told The Irrawaddy.

In mid-June, Satpyarkyin saw a clash between the junta and resistance.

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