Myanmar’s junta forces torched at least 26 villages in Sagaing Region on Human Right Day despite no reports of fighting with resistance groups.
Villages were burned in Depayin, Tigyaing, Kawlin, Budalin and Ye-U townships were burned down on Saturday.
Thirteen Tigyaing villages were burned.
Around 400 soldiers raided the township and torched villages all day using specialist equipment, according to a resident.
Eight Depayin Township villages were burned down, including Let Yat Kone where regime helicopters attacked a school in September. Thirteen civilians, including seven children, were killed in the attack.
Nearby Nyaung Gyi Kone, Muu Ka Twin and Mae Oh were also destroyed, according to the Depayin Township Brothers charity.
All the villages were reportedly almost completely burned down.
Mae Oh lost about 90 of its 100 houses, a member of the charity told The Irrawaddy.
“Myanmar signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but the soldiers ignored human rights and the villages were burned down on Human Rights Day,” he said.
At least 19 Depayin villages have been torched by the regime troops so far this month and more than 310,00 civilians from 31 villages have fled their homes, the charity reported.
A Let Yat Kone villager, who lost his home, told The Irrawaddy: “I hoped they would leave our village because it became famous because of the school attack. But they torched it twice on Saturday. There is nowhere to live. Our lives are ruined.”
Soldiers scrawled a message in Mae Oh: “You are in trouble as long as you support the resistance.”
Troops torched five Kawlin Township villages over the weekend.
The arson attacks are aiming to cut off support for resistance forces while avoiding confrontation.
An estimated 27,500 houses in Sagaing Region had been burned down, Data For Myanmar reported in November.