A village under siege after a day of deadly violence

Chaunggyi, a village in Mandalay region’s Thabeikkyin township, was in a state of fear on Tuesday as regime forces continued to pressure residents a day after inflicting a deadly crackdown.

At least five people were reported dead in the village, located about 100km north of Myanmar’s second-largest city Mandalay, following Monday’s brutal assault.

The attack began in the afternoon, when soldiers in five army trucks heading south from the town of Thabeikkyin opened fire in Chaunggyi and other villages in the area.

“They mainly hit Chaunggyi and two nearby villages as they were passing through,” a member of a local aid group told Myanmar Now.  

One of the five who died instantly was a 15-year-old girl.

“The girl was shot in the chest. She was killed in her own home,” said the aid worker, adding that around 25 others suffered injuries, some of them life-threatening.

Reinforcements sent

The soldiers who carried out the initial attack were soon joined by reinforcements sent north from Singu, according to local sources. 

Residents of Nweyon, a village in Singu township, attempted to block the military vehicles as they headed towards Chaunggyi, but soon came under fire themselves, the sources said.

Those who had been shot in Chaunggyi remained in the village overnight without medical care amid fears of facing further violence.

“We were afraid to send the injured to the hospital last night. We were also afraid to go to Mandalay. We didn’t send them to a hospital in the city until this morning,” a resident of Nweyon told Myanmar Now on Tuesday.

“One person who was shot in the groin was in terrible condition,” she said, adding that the victim’s family had no money to pay for hospitalization.

There were also around 14 arrests in Chaunggyi and an unknown number in neighbouring villages, local sources said.

Threats and intimidation

A day after their unprovoked attack, the soldiers returned to Chaunggyi on Tuesday to recover some lost property. 

“They said they came back to search for a gun and some bullets they left behind yesterday,” said a Chaunggyi villager.

“They found the gun, but not the bullets. They told us we had five hours. If we didn’t find the bullets in that time, they said they would shoot the entire village,” he added.

They found the bullets at around 5pm on Tuesday and returned them to the soldiers, who were stationed just outside the village.

Meanwhile, the villagers said that a monk who negotiated with the soldiers for the release of those who had been detained has not returned since he was sent to collect them.

“Our monk spoke with them and they promised to release those they had arrested from the village. But the car that went to fetch them hasn’t come back,” said Chaunggyi resident Cho Tuu.

Although Singu and Thabeikkyin both have military bases, voters in the two townships overwhelmingly supported the National League for Democracy in last year’s election.


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