Thousands Flee as Myanmar Regime Raids Villages in Sagaing Region

By The Irrawaddy 11 February 2022

An estimated 5,000 residents of Sagaing Region were forced to flee their homes on Thursday after Myanmar junta forces raided and burned down houses in at least four villages in Mingin and Taze townships.

Three detachments of over 200 regime troops and pro-junta Pyu Saw Htee militia raided and burned down Moktha and Mouktat villages in the east of Mingin Township on early Thursday morning, according to the Mingin-People’s Defense Force (Mingin-PDF) and residents.

The latest junta atrocities came after regime soldiers in nearby Sanabyin Village were raided by a resistance group on early Wednesday morning, killing three junta troops and injuring two others.

During Thursday’s junta raid, regime forces torched 178 houses out of 200 in Moktha Village, as well as more than 120 houses including a monastery out of a total of around 150 houses in Mouktat Village, the spokesperson for Mingin-PDF told The Irrawaddy on Friday.

Smoke rises above Khayutaw Village in Taze Township, Sagaing Region on Friday after junta forces torched houses in the village. Photo-Taze News

Most of the residents of the two villages luckily managed to flee the junta raids as they were notified in advance about the soldiers heading to the villages, according to locals.

Regime forces used heavy explosives in the raids, claimed residents.

A Moktha villager told The Irrawaddy that his 21-year-old cousin’s brother Ko Naing Soe Lin was killed after being shot in the head during the raids. Another three villagers are still missing.

Three PDF fighters on guard near the village were detained and then killed by junta forces. Other resistance fighters were able to escape.

“The junta forces are aiming to cut off access to food in our area because they made sure to burn down all the rice stores first before they torched the houses,” said one Moktha villager who saw three of his houses, a rice storage facility and some motorbikes go up in smoke in the junta raid.

On Wednesday, junta soldiers and a Pyu Saw Htee member were reportedly killed when a combined force of Mingin Township PDFs raided a military camp in Mokkattaw Village.

Mingin-PDF claimed also to have killed four regime troops and injured another eight on Wednesday, when its fighters ambushed a military flotilla of five motorboats transporting ammunition along the Chindwin River.

On January 31, around 200 Pyu Saw Htee militia and junta troops supporting a military flotilla of eight vessels burned houses in four villages in Mingin Township, after sustaining heavy losses during clashes with PDFs from Kani Township.

During the raids, regime forces torched more than 150 houses out of 200 in Binkyun Village, as well as burning down around 34 houses in three nearby villages.

The remains of houses in Mouktat Village in Mingin Township, Sagaing Region on Thursday after regime forces burned down the village. Photo- CJ

To deter the PDF attacks, junta forces detained and used 35 Binkyun villagers, including several older residents and children, as human shields while traveling in Mingin Township. The detainees were released by regime forces when they arrived at their destination, according to Mingin-PDF.

“Regime forces are now burning down villages as they cannot defeat the local resistance forces,” said the spokesperson for Mingin-PDF.

“People have requested us [PDFs] to fight until the military regime is gone, saying they don’t mind losing their possessions, homes and villages,” he added.

On Wednesday and Thursday, around 120 regime soldiers including Pyu Saw Htee militia also looted and burned down houses in Palchaung Village in Sagaing’s Taze Township, according to local media.

Military regime forces went on to attack and torch houses in nearby Khayutaw Village on Thursday evening, according to local media.

Around 3,000 residents in Taze Township were forced to flee their homes due to the junta raids, according to Taze News, which covers regime atrocities in the township.

The military regime is currently facing intense daily attacks nationwide from PDFs and many ethnic armed organizations.

Meanwhile, the regime’s atrocities continue with torture, arbitrary killings, massacres, burning people alive, using civilians as human shields, shelling residential areas and looting and burning houses, especially in Magwe and Sagaing regions and Chin, Kachin, Shan, Kayah and Karen states.

As of Thursday, 1,546 people have been killed by the junta and another 12,073 people arrested since last year’s February 1 coup, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

You may also like these stories:

Petition Calls on Norway to Block Telenor Myanmar Sale to Junta-Linked Firm

Myanmar Junta’s Union Day Peace Talks in Doubt as Most EAOs Won’t Attend

Fighting With AA Claims Heavy Regime Casualties Including Officers, Video Shows