Thousands of villagers in Sagaing Region were forced to flee their homes on Monday night, after Myanmar junta forces launched unprovoked artillery strikes in Yinmabin Township that injured two civilians.
Regime troops have been firing artillery day and night in Yinmabin since last week. On Monday night, two residents of Myoe Paw Village, close to Yinmabin Town, were injured by the strikes, a spokesperson for the Bo Thurain-Yinmabin People’s Defense Force (PDF) told The Irrawaddy.
Residents of Myoe Paw and the nearby villages of None Gyi, Pyaung Pyar, Yorhtaung and Layyor fled their homes fearing further artillery strikes.
“The villagers daren’t live in their houses anymore because their villages are not too far from Yinmabin Town. I think the junta troops have suffered heavy casualties from our attacks and so they are firing artillery at civilian targets,” said the Bo Thurain-Yinmabin PDF spokesperson.
Military regime troops previously raided the villages on June 11, torching eight houses in Yorhtaung and Layyor villages. Two residents of Pyaung Pyar Village were injured by artillery strikes.
Residents of Yinmabin Township are used to fleeing junta raids, but the regime’s increased use of indiscriminate artillery strikes has scared locals into leaving their villages, a Myoe Paw villager told The Irrawaddy.
“They fire heavy weapons in the night and at dawn these days. Some shells landed on our village and nearby villages. So we left our house even though it was the night. We weren’t able to take any food or possessions with us, so now we face many difficulties,” said the villager.
As of Tuesday, the villagers were still staying in the forest and were unable to return home as the artillery strikes continued.
Yinmabin is a stronghold of armed resistance to the regime. In response, junta forces are continuing to raid and torch villages in the township.
On Monday, regime troops torched almost 20 houses in Kaung Sin Village in the east of Yinmabin, according to the North Yamar PDF. Thousands of locals from nearby villages have been displaced.