Tens of Thousands Flee Myanmar Regime Forces’ Raids in Sagaing, Magwe

By The Irrawaddy 24 August 2021

Tens of thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes in Sagaing and Magwe regions due to recent junta raids, according to local sources.

Junta forces have been raiding one village after another in Tabayin, Minkin, Myaung, Yinmarbin and Kani townships in Sagaing and Yesagyo and other townships in Magwe, attacking the bases of local resistance fighters, detaining civilians and looting.

Junta troops used local villagers as human shields while traveling from one village to another during raids in Myaung, a member of the township People’s Defense Force (PDF) told The Irrawaddy on condition of anonymity.

“They have been on the rampage lately in Myaung. They came here because military informants were killed and to wipe out the Myaung PDF. They use around 10 villagers as human shields when they go from one village to the next. They release the villagers after they reach their destination,” he said.

Human Rights Affairs Minister U Aung Myo Min of the parallel National Unity Government called the regime’s use of civilians as human shields the worst form of human rights violations and a war crime.

“They arrest and torture people in villages, and also force them to carry things for the army. And they also use civilians as shields or deterrents against enemy attacks. These are more than human rights violations; they are blatant war crimes,” said U Aung Myo Min.

The Myanmar military’s code of ethics also bars military personnel from using civilians in fighting or putting their lives at risk.

Junta troops raided villages in Tabayin as of Sunday and at least seven youths were detained, according to locals.

“They stayed overnight at Oh Tein Twin Village, and took food, drinks and rice. They took liquor from the pub and killed chickens for meat. They arrested people and looted. And they destroyed the things they don’t need so that other people can’t use them,” said a Tabayin villager.

One young person was shot dead as junta troops opened fire while arresting five youths in the village of Hinthar in Yesagyo Township of Magwe Region, a township PDF member told The Irrawaddy.

“As many junta troops have come recently, it appears that they are acting according to a plan to get rid of the PDF. Our weapons are no match for theirs, though there are many resistance fighters available to fight them. As the NUG has not declared ‘D-Day’, and we are not yet in a position to fight them in terms of weaponry, we have had to withdraw,” he said.

A PDF base in Shwe Hlan Village was raided on Aug. 19 in Yesagyo Township, and weapons were seized. More weapons were seized from the village during the junta raid on Saturday.

Junta forces also attacked a PDF base in Myaung Township, forcing resistance fighters to withdraw.

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