Myanmar Junta Troops Detain Eight Displaced Villagers During Sagaing Raids

By The Irrawaddy 26 January 2023

Junta troops detained eight displaced people including a woman in northern Taze in Sagaing Region on Monday. The eight remain in military custody.

Four men and one woman from Falan Chaing Village and three men from Ywathit Village were arrested when junta troops raided their villages.

“They had been living in makeshift tents in farms near their villages since fleeing previous raids. We haven’t heard anything about them since their detention. We are concerned for their safety,” one resident told The Irrawaddy.

Around 100 junta troops from Kale-based Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 361, Homalin-based LIB 369 and local pro-regime Pyu Saw Htee militias from Taze Township raided Falan Chaing and Ywathit villages on Monday.

One displaced resident from Ywathit Village said: “They opened fire on displaced people. So we fled for our lives leaving behind our farm huts. They set fire to three huts along with motorbikes, utensils and food.”

Troops from three LIBs as well as Pyu Saw Htee militias have been raiding villages in Kantbalu, Taze, Ye-U and Kyunhla townships. In previous raids, junta troops returned to their bases after raiding villages. But since the second week of December, junta troops have been stationed in villages of Pyu Saw Htee strongholds, from where they raid surrounding villages, according to local revolutionary forces.

A member of Taze Township People’s Defense Force said: “Junta troops and Pyu Saw Htee militias have been raiding villages in Kantbalu, Taze and Kyunhla townships. Previously, they would retreat after raiding villages. But since the second week of December, they have changed their tactics with some stationed in villages and some moving around. They would raid villages in northern Taze every few days. So, it is important for locals to avoid routes on which they might encounter junta troops.”

Junta troops have been deployed at an intersection near the border of Kantbalu, Taze and Ye-U townships for a month. The outpost is fortified with trenches and bunkers made out of sandbags.  They raided two villages on Wednesday.

As of Jan. 1, a total of 3,474 houses had been torched in 83 villages in Taze and 299 others destroyed since the coup in February 2021. Nine religious buildings, a school and a clinic were also torched, according to the civilian People’s Authority of Taze Township.

The junta’s arson attacks have left 15,630 people homeless while 18,000 displaced civilians still can’t return to their homes.