Thousands in Hiding Need Help as Myanmar Regime’s Forces Rampage Through Villages

By The Irrawaddy 8 May 2021

Thousands of residents from at least two-dozen villages in Sagaing Region’s Kani Township are in need of emergency assistance.

They are still hiding in the forest as the regime’s soldiers continue their rampage in the area after a series of deadly shootouts with civilian resistance forces.

At least 16 soldiers were killed during a series of firefights with anti-regime civilian fighters on Thursday and Friday. Following the shootouts, the soldiers raided villages in search of the resistance fighters, causing people to flee their homes.

Tension between the junta troops and the civilian resistance force continued on Saturday. As a result, residents of Kin, Upper Kin and Michaungtwin villages and several others nearby villages between Chindwin River in the east and the Kani-Monywa road in the west are unable to return to their homes.

As of Saturday, those civilians are still hiding in nearby forests. Among the nearly 13,000 displaced people are elderly persons, sick people, pregnant women and children. All need medicine and food due to their hasty evacuation, according to some of the villagers in hiding.

Ko Saw, a resident from Upper Kin village in northern Kani, said his whole village—about a thousand people—fled from their homes Thursday afternoon and many of them have only the clothes on their backs.

“The military troops are deployed in our village, and we are hearing more troops are coming to reinforce. We are still hiding in the jungle, and no one dares to go back yet,” he said.

The man, in his 30s, said he has never faced such a situation and been displaced in his life and pledged the support of his villagers.

On Saturday, the regime’s forces rampaged through the deserted villages in the area. Following the shootouts, they had stationed themselves in some villages. They forcibly entered some homes, looting whatever cash they could find and stealing chickens and pigs while arresting people who remained, according to residents.

A Kani resident, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said at least 17 people from Zee Pin Twin village, including three teachers who have been striking as part of the civil disobedience movement, were taken by the soldiers on Saturday.

The abductions occurred after some 60 soldiers entered the village, shooting randomly. Zee Pin Twin village is located in the southern part of Kani Township.

The resident said the civilians from different villages have been forced to hide and run from one place to another within Kani for more than a month.

Ko Win, a relief worker from Monywa, said at least eight village tracts, including Kin and Chaung Ma villages, are being affected because of the civilian shootouts with the junta forces.

In Sagaing Region’s Kani, Yinmabin, Kalay (Kale) and Tamu townships, the armed resistance began in late March and locals have taken up traditional homemade percussion lock firearms to counter the military after peaceful protesters were killed by junta forces.

During the fighting, both sides suffered casualties.

You may also like these stories:

Myanmar Junta Suspends Over 1,600 Educators for Refusing to Work

Myanmar Junta Approves 15 Investments, Including US$2.5-Billion Power Project

ASEAN Chair, Secretary General to Visit Myanmar