Two Sagaing Region villagers were killed by a junta airstrike and an arson attack on Monday in one of Myanmar’s resistance strongholds.
Villagers said the air raid on Thabye Aye village was launched by four military helicopters in the morning before soldiers were dropped to torch the village which has nearly 200 houses.
“A villager riding away on a motorcycle was hit in the head. An elderly person was trapped in the fire,” a resident told The Irrawaddy.
He said nearly 150 houses were burned by the troops.
Earlier regime forces killed at least nine people during a raid on nearby Chin Pone village and detained over 80 primary schoolchildren as potential human shields for 36 hours. The troops then moved to Thabye Aye by helicopter.
Yoma People’s Defense Force said about 60 soldiers were deployed in the village from two helicopters and are stationed at the village monastery.
“Before the soldiers were deployed, the helicopters dropped bombs and there was also a fighter jet in the sky,” said a resistance fighter.
He said attempts to shoot the helicopters with homemade weapons were unsuccessful.
Thabye Aye villagers took up arms to fight the regime last year when troops came to arrest the village’s abbot for alleged anti-junta activism. Villagers fought them with hunting rifles, killing three troops and leading to seven arrests.
Junta forces have burned at least 4,571 civilian homes across Myanmar since last year’s coup, including 2,567 in Sagaing Region alone, according to the independent research group Data for Myanmar.
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