Myanmar Regime Troops Torch Villages and Hold Civilians Hostage in Sagaing

By The Irrawaddy 16 June 2022

Myanmar junta troops used civilians as human shields against People’s Defense Forces (PDF) while torching houses in rural areas of Sagaing Region’s Salingyi Township earlier this week, according to local sources. 

Around 80 regime soldiers torched houses in three villages from June 12-13, said locals. The troops raided Ngwe Thar Village on Sunday before raiding Yin Maung Taing and Lin Sar Kyet villages, taking almost 100 residents hostage and torching houses. 

A resident of Lin Sar Kyet Village said: “They showed up all of a sudden while there was no clash. Perhaps it was an operation intended to drive out resistance fighters. We fled as they entered the village. All those who stayed were detained.” 

Lin Sar Kyet Village has some 300 households, and more than 200 houses were burned down. With nearly 100 villagers held hostage, resistance fighters were unable to attack the junta soldiers, said a PDF fighter from Salingyi Township. 

Lin Sar Kyet Village in Salingyi Township. / CJ

“We could do nothing to them as they were holding nearly 100 hostages. And our weapons did not match theirs,” he said. 

Another resident of Lin Sar Kyat Village told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday that they have not been able to return to their homes. 

Two resistance fighters who were trailing junta troops were killed at Lin Sar Kyet Village and their bodies were set on fire, said a PDF fighter. 

“The two were arrested as they were tracking the movement of junta troops. They were tortured before being killed. We don’t know if they were burned alive or burned after being killed. Their hands were tied,” he said. 

Military regime forces left the village on Tuesday, taking over 10 residents with them as hostages.

Also in Sagaing, junta soldiers in Khin-U Township killed two residents after taking them hostage following a mine attack by resistance groups. Their dead bodies were found last Saturday and showed signs of torture. 

Last Sunday, junta troops also raided Lelti and Maunghtaung villages in Sagaing’s Budalin Township, killing three civilians and taking 60 others hostage.