Myanmar Junta Forces Torch Nearly 150 Homes in Village in Sagaing

By The Irrawaddy 8 December 2022

Junta forces and members of the pro-military Pyu Saw Htee militia group have burned down nearly 150 civilian houses in Eai Dine Village of Kyun Hla Township in Sagaing Region.

On Tuesday afternoon, around 200 soldiers from the military’s Light Infantry Battalion 361 and Pyu Saw Htee members fired artillery and raided the village, forcing thousands of residents to flee.

A resident of Kyun Hla Township said that based on the information gathered so far, the junta troops had torched 142 houses—nearly half of the village—during the raid.

“They looted houses and took livestock away before torching the houses,” he said.

The regime forces left the village on Wednesday, but the displaced residents dare not return yet, fearing that the soldiers may have planted land mines. The villagers remain in temporary locations nearby without proper shelter and lack enough blankets, food and other basic necessities.

Despite UN Special Envoy Noeleen Heyzer’s Aug. 17 plea to coup leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing to cease air and artillery strikes on civilian targets and the torching of homes, regime soldiers have stepped up their arson attacks against villages in Sagaing Region, even in places where there is no fighting with resistance forces. In Kyun Hla Township alone, around 10 villages have been torched in six months.

According to independent research group Data for Myanmar, junta forces burned down an estimated 38,434 houses across the country between the February 2021 coup and August this year.

Sagaing has suffered the heaviest arson damage with around 20,153 houses torched by junta forces. Neighboring Magwe Region, another resistance stronghold, has lost around 5,418 properties in regime arson attacks.