Myanmar Junta Intensifies Arson Attacks in Resistance Strongholds 

By The Irrawaddy 27 May 2022

Myanmar’s junta has intensified its attacks in the resistance strongholds of Sagaing and Magwe regions by razing around 100 villages this month.

The Irrawaddy estimates that more than 7,000 houses in 97 villages were burned down in the two regions so far this month.

Tens of thousands of residents have been displaced.

Ye-U, Khin-U, Myaung, Yinmabin, Salingyi, Mingin, Kani, Taze, Shwebo, Wetlet, Kale and Tabayin townships in Sagaing Region have been raided by junta troops and more than 6,000 houses were burned down.

A village in Myaung Township in Sagaing Region after a regime attack on May 22. / Myaung PDF

During raids in Magwe Region this month, over 1,300 houses from 28 villages were burned down.

Myaing Township in Magwe Region has about 10,000 civilians sheltering in seven camps.

About 10,000 civilians from Yesagyo Township in Magwe have been displaced and at least 63 killed during junta raids in May.

Ko Zay, head of the Salingyi Special Taskforce, told The Irrawaddy that the regime wants to break up civilian administrative networks while the junta cannot extend control beyond a few cities.

He said: “They well know Magwe and Sagaing are under the command of the National Union Government. They are resistance strongholds. That is why regime troops target them.”

A village in Myaung Township in Sagaing Region after a regime attack on May 22. / Myaung PDF

People’s defence forces from Sagaing and Magwe regions lack the military experience and support networks of the ethnic armed forces, he said.

By torching civilian houses, they try to stop public donations to resistance forces and the resistance groups weaken each day, Yay Lae Kyaun PDF said in a statement.

A War Tan villager in Salingyi Township said: ”Soldiers made us homeless and hungry and it is impossible to support the revolution. But they can only destroy our houses: they can’t destroy our revolutionary spirit.”

Currently, thousands of civilians are staying with relatives, at monasteries and in forests under tarpaulin shelters.

A village in Myaung Township in Sagaing Region after a regime attack on May 22. / Myaung PDF

Tabayin refugee relief network said the junta attacks make the delivery of aid to civilians extremely challenging.

Myaing NGOs are asking for food, other humanitarian assistance and help to rehabilitate civilians.

“We do not dare return to our village and if we did there is nothing there,” said a Lat Yet Ma villager in Myaung. Two-thirds of the village was burned down on May 14.