Sagaing Civilians Killed in Myanmar Junta Arson Attacks

By The Irrawaddy 16 March 2022

Ten civilians, including women and children, were killed in recent Myanmar junta raids on villages along the Ye-U to Taze road in Sagaing Region, according to residents.

Junta troops raided and torched houses in several villages on the road. Some 20 houses and religious buildings were burned down in Sein Sar village, eight chicken farms and 17 houses were burned in Chaung Yoe village and 16 more houses were reduced to ashes in two other villages.

One Chaung Yoe villager said: “They were all fine houses. Troops have been on the rampage along the road from Taze Junction to Ye-U. Two of our neighbors were arrested and we don’t know if they are alive. We dare not return home.”

A woman, a 15-year-old girl and two men died in Sein Sar village. The teenager was gunned down from behind as she fled the raid. Another victim was a 70-year-old who was too weak to run and died in a fire.

The Chaung Yoe villager said: “We saw the bodies when we went back to the village. We found six bodies.”

The abbot of Sein Sar village was beaten badly and needed medical treatment.

“Junta troops came from different directions. The abbot was briefly detained after he refused to be disrobed. He was injured and dare not return to his monastery. He is at a monastery in a nearby village and receiving treatment,” said a Sein Sar villager.

Resistance fighters ambushed a vehicle carrying rice which junta soldiers stole from a village in Taze Township on March 12, said the Phoenix Defense Force in Taze.

Four junta soldiers were killed and one was captured alive and arms and ammunition were seized, the resistance group said. Junta reinforcements then raided Sein Sar and surrounding villages in retaliation for the ambush.

The Chaung Yoe villager said: “My house was burned down. Villagers fled as they showered the village with bullets. The fire was devastating.”

Junta troops are staying at a rice mill in Chaung Yoe village and have looted rice bags and other goods, he said.

Many civilians are feared to have been injured in junta raids, said the Taze Support Organization.

Chaung Yoe has about 1,500 villagers  and 300 households. The Christian-majority village is old and used to be a Portuguese settlement. All the residents have fled the village following the raid.

Myanmar’s regime has cut off mobile internet services across Sagaing Region, except in Monywa, Sagaing, Kale and Shwebo, where its battalions are based. Junta forces have been committing grave human rights violations in villages, killing, torturing and raping civilians, torching and looting houses and abducting people for ransom.

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