Myanmar Junta Troops Force 16,000 to Flee Amid Cyclone Mocha

By The Irrawaddy 15 May 2023

Junta raids in two townships of Sagaing Region over the past three days have forced 16,000 people to flee during heavy rain and flooding triggered by cyclone Mocha.

Before making landfall in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State on Sunday, the storm began unleashing torrential rain in neighboring Chin State, Magwe and Sagaing regions on Friday.

After hitting Rakhine and its capital Sittwe with maximum wind speeds of 175 miles per hour, the cyclone moved to Magwe and Sagaing regions and Kachin State on Monday.

Around 3,000 residents in the west of Khin U Township were forced to flee their homes in heavy rain as a military detachment and allied Pyu Saw Htee militia raided Chan Thar Gone village and nearby settlements early on Sunday, according to local resistance media unit Khin U Township News.

Residents flee into forests as regime forces attack and loot villages in Khin U Township on Sunday.   / Khin U Township News Site

Regime forces used both weapons and heavy explosives to attack the village.

They also looted houses and stole food belonging to the residents.

A four-year-old child was also injured when regime troops attacked nearby Inn Pat village with weapons and explosives, the media unit reported.

In retaliation, local resistance groups launched land-mine ambushes in four locations against regime forces returning to their bases after raiding and looting villages, said the Khin U Special Force Organization, which coordinated the ambush.

The resistance group claimed that 12 regime forces and Pyu Saw Htee militia were killed in the ambush. Ammunition was also seized from the retreating regime forces, according to the combined resistance groups.

Meanwhile, more than 13,000 people from five village groups in Kani Township, Sagaing have been forced to evacuate in heavy rain and flooding after junta detachments began raiding on Friday.

“Military columns have been attacking villages since the start of the storm on May 12. On Saturday, regime forces occupied Min Ma village, forcing residents to flee into the forest amid heavy rain,” a rescue worker told The Irrawaddy on Sunday.

Residents of Khin U Township flee their homes as regime forces raid villages on Sunday.   /Khin U Township News Site

Junta forces also captured a 35-year-old local in Twin village and were holding him captive in Min Ma.

The displaced villagers are in urgent need of food and medicines as transport routes have been cut by the floods, the rescuer said.

On Sunday, resistance groups attacked the 120 junta troops and Pyu Saw Htee militia stationed in Min Ma village, according to Ko Pyae Aung Naing of the Kani General Strike Committee.

The clash left one resistance fighter dead and six others wounded, he wrote on Facebook. A regime fighter jet bombed areas near the site of the clash in the afternoon.

The resistance attack came after junta detachments raided Twin village on Friday, looting houses and destroying motorbikes and furniture that they could not carry away.

Two resistance fighters were killed and three others were wounded on Friday as resistance groups clashed with junta forces raiding and looting villages, Pyae Aung Naing said.