Myanmar Regime Raids Displace Over 7,000 Civilians in Sagaing Region

By The Irrawaddy 24 January 2023

More than 7,000 civilians in Sagaing Region were forced to flee their homes on Monday and Tuesday, after Myanmar military soldiers raided and torched villages along the border of Depayin and Ye-U townships.

Around 200 military regime troops raided five villages in Ye-U Township on Monday, displacing residents.

On Tuesday morning junta forces moved into Depayin Township, with three columns of soldiers raiding Let Yat Kone Village and firing heavy weapons, according to villagers. The regime troops torched houses in the northern part of the village, before moving on to raid and torch homes in nearby Mu Ka Twin Village.

Let Yat Kone Village was previously hit by a junta airstrike in late September last year that killed 13 people, including seven children. The village was also raided by regime troops in December 2022, when around 200 houses were burned down.

“Our house was torched in December. We built a new one and moved in yesterday, but the soldiers torched our house again,” a Let Yat Kone resident told The Irrawaddy.

Villagers said that resistance fighters and regime troops clashed for around an hour on Tuesday morning. However, The Irrawaddy couldn’t verify the fighting independently.

Thousands of residents from ten villages in Depayin have currently fled their homes. They are in urgent need of food and shelter, according to local civil society group, the Depayin Refugee Support Group.

“People are taking refuge in the fields and forest. As the weather is cold, they are in quite a lot of trouble,” a spokesperson for the Depayin Refugee Support Group told The Irrawaddy.

Junta troops are currently deployed in Let Yat Kone Village and also in Sae Kyi Village on the border of Depayin and Ye-U townships, from where they are firing artillery at Nyaung Hla Village, according to locals.

Regime soldiers conducted arson attacks on 30 villages in Depayin Township in December 2022 alone, destroying over 3,000 houses and five monasteries.

An estimated 36,667 houses in Sagaing Region had been burned down by junta forces as of December 2022, independent rights group Data for Myanmar reported in January.