Thousands More Villagers Flee Myanmar Junta Raids

By The Irrawaddy 27 October 2021

Around 8,000 residents from Mingin Township in Sagaing Region and Pekon Township in Shan State have fled their homes due to junta raids and artillery strikes on civilian areas.

On Wednesday morning, more than 500 residents from Shwe Pyi Aye village in Pekon fled their homes after being bombarded by more than 10 artillery shells, according to Karenni rebel forces.

The attack followed an intense firefight between regime forces deployed on a hill and the combined Pekon People’s Defense Forces (PDF) and other Karenni armed forces on Tuesday afternoon.

In the shootout, a civilian resistance fighter received minor injuries while the military casualties are unknown.

After the firefight, three civilians were injured by random junta attacks on residential areas, said Pekon PDF.

The Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF) urged people in Pekon and Mobye in Shan State to leave their homes due to indiscriminate junta bombardments.

Currently, an estimated 2,500 residents from about seven villages between Pekon and Mobye have fled, according to the Free Burma Ranger, an armed group which is assisting the fleeing villagers.

On Sunday, around 1,000 residents fled Mobye town amid artillery strikes which killed one civilian and injured five, including a three-year-old girl and nine-year-old boy.

On Tuesday afternoon, at least 10 junta soldiers were killed when the combined KNDF and Karenni Army, the armed wing of the Karenni Nationalities Progressive Party, ambushed a military convoy near a village in Demoso Township, Kayah State.

During the attack, two military vehicles were destroyed. The KNDF said it suffered no casualties. The regime forces then used artillery on residential areas of Demoso.

The KNDF claimed three military jet fighters flew above the battle.

On Tuesday evening, around 4,000 to 5,000 residents from five villages in Mingin Township, Sagaing Region, fled their homes after a junta raid, according to residents.

Around 150 junta troops raided five villages in the east of Mingin and all residents fled to the forest during heavy rainfall, according to a villager.

“We had to stand in the forest for hours due to the heavy rain. The ground was too wet for us to sleep,” a mother of three told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday.

Junta forces raided the villages at least twice in October, looting houses, burning motorbikes and arresting villagers. They fired artillery at civilians hiding in the forests, according to residents.

“Many female villagers are joining the revolution against the junta. I want to fight but the PDF will not take anyone with children under six,” the mother said.

She said the PDFs could not resist the junta raid on Tuesday as their homemade hunting guns do not work in the rain.

On Wednesday, some villagers returned to their homes after the regime’s forces left the villages, according to residents.

After deploying around 3,000 reinforcements, the junta continues to commit atrocities, including raiding and burning down villages, bombarding residential areas and arbitrarily killing civilians, especially in Sagaing and Magwe regions and Chin and Kayah states.

Except for Rakhine State, junta forces nationwide are facing an increasing number of attacks from PDFs and ethnic armed groups, including the Kachin Independence Army, the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army and the armed wing of the Karen National Union and the Karenni National Progressive Party.

Attacks by PDFs

On Wednesday morning, two military convoys were ambushed with mines by civilian resistance forces in Myinmu and Kanbalu in Sagaing Region.

During the attacks, around 10 junta soldiers were reportedly killed and at least two military vehicles were destroyed.

The 44st Urban Guerrillas, a civilian resistance group, claimed to have attacked Dawbon police station in Yangon using three heavy explosives on Wednesday. The police casualties are unknown.

You may also like these stories: