Thousands Displaced by Myanmar Junta Arson Attacks

By The Irrawaddy 25 May 2022

More than 5,000 people were displaced by junta raids and arson attacks between May 18 and 22 in Myaung Township, Sagaing Region, according to the Civilian Defense and Security Organization in the township.

Some 400 houses from 18 villages were torched by junta soldiers and pro-junta Pyu Saw Htee militias.

Ko Nwe Oo of the organization said: “They cut off phone lines using jammers and fired mortar shells before entering villages to prevent ambushes and mine attacks from the people’s defence forces [PDFs].”

Around 200 junta soldiers and Pyu Saw Htee militia members first raided Pann Nyo village on May 18, where they also torched religious buildings.

More than 100 houses, a pagoda, religious hall and monastery were torched in Min Tan on May 21, said residents.

“Min Tan has turned into a ghastly sight after the fire. They didn’t even spare the monastery,” said Ko Nwe Oo.

Junta troops that raided Myaung villages were reportedly armed with rocket-propelled grenade launchers, machine guns, mortars and drone jammers.

A witness from Pan Nyo village said: “There were people in civilian clothes beside the troops entering our village. There were around 200 of them. They fired mortar shells as they entered the village. They searched each house and torched fine houses and those with silos.”

The PDFs said they can only help civilians escape the attacks because they are outgunned and outnumbered by junta troops.

Residents are facing many hardships due to deliberate arson attacks by the regime. A villager was shot dead in Nyaung Kar Yar and three Pauk Chaung villagers were injured, according to the security organization.

Regime troops also set fire to the Nwe Oo Yaungni clinic run by the Myaung Medical Team providing health care to displaced civilians. Pharmaceuticals and the staff quarters were destroyed.

Two people were injured when a junta vehicle fired on pedestrians in Myaung town on May 19.

The regime is targeting civilians to frighten them into staying away from the PDFs, said Ko Nwe Oo.

“As they cannot defeat the PDFs, they are torching houses. They think PDFs exist because of support from villagers. And they also want to harm the people who reject military rule. They think that the revolution will be hit hard and cease if they torch villages.”

Homeless people in Myaung are short of food and suffering from monsoon rain and wind, he said.

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