Myanmar Junta Forces Kill Six Villagers in Sagaing Using Heavy Weapons

By The Irrawaddy 21 April 2021

Six civilians were killed when junta forces attacked with heavy weapons after using drones to conduct surveillance of anti-regime villagers’ movements in Sagaing Region’s Yinmabin Township on Tuesday evening.

After 6 p.m. on Tuesday, some 200 soldiers arrived in Thigon Village from Wingon Village and started firing, prompting clashes with villagers, said Yinmabin resident Ko Soe.

“However, they [the soldiers] used artillery and the people’s forces retreated. Following the clash, they conducted house-to-house raids in the village last night. Many villagers fled and are still in hiding as of [Wednesday] morning,” he said.

He said six civilians were confirmed killed and about half a dozen injured. A few villagers were arrested.

“We are still gathering the casualties. They used drones to conduct surveillance of people’s movements and then fired on their locations using RPGs [rocket-propelled grenades],” he said.

Another resident said there were reports that junta forces had been killed, but The Irrawaddy was unable to confirm them.

Rejecting military rule and the junta’s fatal crackdowns on anti-regime protesters since the Feb. 1 coup, residents of Sagaing Region’s Kale, Tamu, Taze, Pale, Salingyi, Mingin, Kani and Yinmabin townships have begun resisting regime forces with rudimentary arms.

Residents of Yinmabin’s Thapyayaye Village have fought back against the junta forces with traditional homemade firearms.

On the northern boundary of Yinmabin Township last week, villagers took defensive action against junta forces. Casualties were reported on both sides on Saturday.

In Kani Township west of the Chindwin River, Class 2 Warrant Officer Soe Soe Aung was killed when he was struck by lead bullets fired from traditional homemade firearms, according to state-run MWD news. The junta accused villagers of killing the officer.

Following the junta forces’ armed attack and raids, residents of at least four villages in Kani Township and at least three villages in Yinmabin Township have yet to return to their homes.

Six civilians were killed on April 15, and at least two have been killed in the townships daily since then. Residents said a total of at least 16 people had been killed since last week, including a monk.

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