Thousands More Villagers Flee Myanmar Junta Raids 

By The Irrawaddy 26 January 2022

An estimated 15,000 residents from more than 10 villages in Shwebo Township, Sagaing Region, have fled their homes as Myanmar’s regime forces raided and burned down another village in the township on Tuesday. 

After reportedly suffering losses in an ambush by combined people’s defense forces (PDFs) on early Monday, around 200 junta troops occupied and burned down the Ywarzoe village in the township. 

At least two villagers were shot dead after being detained by troops, according to the resistance forces that conducted the ambush. 

On Tuesday morning, thousands of Pauk Chaing villagers, near Ywarzoe, fled their homes as regime forces raided and occupied their village again. 

Regime forces in the village were continuing to torch houses on Wednesday morning, according to residents. 

Residents from more than 10 villages in the west of the township have fled into forests and other villages. Many others have fled to major cities, including Yangon and Mandalay, residents said. 

“We are sheltering in another village. We are not hiding in the forests because troops can hunt for us there,” said a pregnant villager who left her village on Monday when the regime raided nearby Ywarzoe.  

She is due to give birth in the next 10 days. She said she spent two nights in a forest last week when regime forces raided their village, looting money, mobile phones and other valuables. 

A displaced male villager told The Irrawaddy that the military is already ruined and is a thieving organization as it loots villagers’ homes. 

“Troops are destroying possessions they cannot carry away,” said the villager. “Troops are destroying people’s lives despite the junta saying it wants to govern the people.” 

Junta forces reportedly raided and burned down houses in five more villages in Khin-U Township, Sagaing Region, on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to a media report. 

In the raids, at least seven civilians and PDFs members were reportedly killed by regime forces. 

Ayadaw Information, a Facebook news page for the township, claimed four civilians, including a 10-year-old boy and a 60-year-old man, were shot dead by troops near a village in the Sagaing Region township on Wednesday morning. 

Photos of dead civilians on the news page said three of the victims, including the boy, were killed while farming outside their village and the 60-year-old was shot dead while riding a bicycle. 

The photos show victims shot in the head. 

By Wednesday, at least 1,494 people have been killed and another 11,776 people, including elected government leaders, have been detained by the military since the Feb. 1 coup, said the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a rights group compiling deaths and arrests. 

Regime forces are facing attacks from PDFs and many ethnic armed groups across the country. Meanwhile, the junta continues its atrocities, including torture, massacres, burning alive, arbitrary killings, using civilians as human shields, shelling residential areas, looting and burning houses and committing acts of sexual violence, especially in Magwe and Sagaing regions and Chin, Kachin, Shan, Kayah and Karen states.