Myanmar villagers accuse junta troops of burning spree

Troops torched hundreds of buildings in the villages of Kinn, Upper Kinn and Ke Taung over three days last week, locals and media reports said. 

Published: 04th June 2022 12:12 PM  |   Last Updated: 04th June 2022 12:12 PM   |  A+A-

In this photo released by the Chin Human Rights Organization, fires burn in the town of Thantlang in Myanmar's northwestern state of Chin, on Friday Oct. 29, 2021.

In this File photo released by the Chin Human Rights Organization, fires burn in the town of Thantlang in Myanmar's northwestern state of Chin, on Friday Oct. 29, 2021. (File Photo |AP)

By AFP

BANGKOK: Myanmar junta troops have torched hundreds of buildings during a three-day raid in the country's north, local media and residents said, as the military struggles to crush resistance to its rule.

The Sagaing region has seen fierce fighting and bloody reprisals since the coup last year, with local "People's Defence Force" (PDF) members clashing regularly with junta troops.

Analysts say the informal militia has surprised junta forces with its effectiveness, and the military has on numerous occasions called in air strikes to support its troops on the ground.

Troops torched hundreds of buildings in the villages of Kinn, Upper Kinn and Ke Taung over three days last week, locals and media reports said. 

On May 26, villagers in Kinn fled as soldiers approached and began shooting into the air, said one resident who requested anonymity.  

"The next morning we saw smoke rising from our village before they left.  "Over 200 houses were burned down... my house was totally burned down, only the concrete foundation is left."

ALSO READ | Myanmar violence has displaced more than one million, says UN

Drone footage purporting to show the aftermath obtained by AFP showed columns of smoke rising into the sky from the villages, set along a roughly eight-kilometre stretch of the Chindwin river. A health clinic seen in the video matched the geolocation of one in Ke Taung village.

AFP digital verification reporters confirmed the footage had not appeared online before last week but could not independently verify reports from the region. 

Soldiers "raided and destroyed our houses", said Ke Taung villager Aye Tin, who requested to use a pseudonym.  

"And they also burned motor boats that we use for transport and for carrying food for our village, including my boat. "My life is ruined, as I have lost my home... and I nothing left to do for a living."

Satellite images from US space agency NASA showed fires in locations that matched Ke Taung and Kinn villages last week.  The junta has previously rebuffed claims its troops have torched houses, accusing "terrorist" PDF fighters of starting the fires.

In a speech on Tuesday, junta chief Min Aung Hlaing said "efforts were made to minimise the casualties as much as possible in performing the counterattacks to terror acts."  "Now, the country is in tranquillity," he said, according to state newspaper the Global New Light of Myanmar.  



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp