Myanmar Junta Burn Over 1,300 Houses in Four Days in Northwest
By The Irrawaddy 5 May 2022
More than 1,300 houses were razed by Myanmar junta arson attacks in villages in Ayadaw, Shwebo and Khin-U townships in Sagaing Region from April 29 to May 2, with thousands fleeing from their homes.
One village in Ayadaw and Khin-U and two villages in Shwebo were torched by junta soldiers and pro-junta Pyu Saw Htee militias, who reportedly shelled the villages before setting the houses on fire.
Around 200 junta troops and Pyu Saw Htee militia fighters raided Ma Lae Tha and Kan Yin villages in Ayadaw on May 2 and torched houses in Ma Lae Tha.
“There was no fighting between them and the PDF [people’s defense forces] but they torched houses anyway. Almost all the houses in the village were burned. All the villagers fled on May 2,” said a Ma Lae Tha villager, who saw his village the following day.
Ma Lae Tha is at the border of Ayadaw and Myinmu townships and has more than 1,000 households. Some 700 houses were reportedly burned down. Resistance groups attacked junta troops but were outnumbered and outgunned and had to withdraw, said a member of the People’s Guerillas Commando in Myinmu.
Junta troops raided Ma Lae Tha and Kan Yin villages in Ayadaw and Padat Dine village in Myinmu in October and December last year. At least 10 civilians were killed in Padat Dine in regime air strikes, according to Ayadaw Information, an anti-regime group documenting clashes.
Some 300 junta troops from Light Infantry Battalion 216 and Pyu Saw Htee militias deployed at Khun Taung Gyi village in Shwebo torched houses in Kyar village from April 29 to May 1. More than 340 houses, including a monastery, were razed to the ground.
Kyar village is at the border of Shwebo and Khin-U townships with around 1,500 households. Junta troops and Pyu Saw Htee looted valuables before setting the houses on fire, said residents.
“We heard loud bangs on April 29 and they came, firing their guns. We fled. Some hid in forests and some are staying with relatives,” said a Kyar villager.
In Htan Pin Kaung village more than 40 houses were destroyed. They then raided Nyaungbintha where they clashed with resistance forces, according to resistance group Night Hunter LPDF.
“They raided Kyar because they thought there were resistance forces there. We fought with other resistance groups when they attacked Nyaungbintha and they withdrew. They suffered casualties,” said Bo Ye Khaung of Night Hunter LPDF.
Some resistance fighters who entered the village to carry out rescue work following the fighting were killed by junta artillery strikes, he said.
A 40-year-old man was killed when around 100 junta troops raided Inpat village in Khin-U Township on May 2. More than 300 houses were burned in the village which has over 500 households. It was the fifth attack on Inpat, according to the Khin-U Support Organization.
“We put out the fire in Inpat on May 3. But 305 houses, 10 cattle, water pumps, 20 harvesters, 40 motorbikes and bicycles were lost on May 2,” said a member of the Khin-U Support Organization.
More than 4,000 villagers from four villages, including some 2,000 from Inpat alone, in Khin-U were forced to flee their homes on May 2.
More than 10,000 people have been displaced by junta raids in Khin-U, forcing resistance groups to carry out rescue and relief work.
“We could not repulse the troops because of superior numbers and weapons. So we can only provide rescue and relief. We are rescuing the elderly, women and children where possible,” said Bo Ye Khaung.
Resistance groups from Shwebo have rescued six civilians, including women and children injured by artillery strikes and provided medical treatment, following instructions from striking health staff.
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