Conflict in Upper Myanmar reaches outskirts of Sagaing capital

Junta forces have displaced thousands of civilians across the Chindwin River from Monywa, the Sagaing Region capital, following an assault on a local police station by resistance fighters last week.

According to the people’s administration team of Salingyi Township, Sagaing Region–which is affiliated with the publicly mandated National Unity Government (NUG)–resistance forces seized weapons and ammunition during their Friday evening raid on the police station, located in Nyaung Pin Gyi village.

Map showing Nyaung Pin Gyi village’s location 

At least five armed junta personnel were killed during the raid, the administration team said. The same day, the junta air force carried out an airstrike in Nyaung Pin Gyi, a village of more than 700 households located on the west bank of the river, just 10 miles south of the military’s northwestern command headquarters.

Resistance fighter Htar Htar Yi, 55, and a civilian in his 70s from Shwe Hlay village, Salingyi Township, were killed as they were fleeing to safety, according to the people’s administration team.

In addition to conducting the airstrike, the junta sent a column of ground troops based in Monywa across the river by ferry to Nyaung Pin Gyi, where they set up a temporary base. While occupying Nyaung Pin Gyi, ground forces reportedly set fires in the village while shelling the surrounding area using light artillery and deliberately damaging roads.

Damage from fighting in Nyaung Pin Gyi village, seen on June 11

“They started torching the village this morning, and the day before yesterday they tore up the Salingyi-Nyaung Pin Gyi road with a bulldozer,” a 30-year-old local civilian resident said.

The military has reportedly bulldozed several routes into and out of Monywa, and resistance groups in the area reported that at least four battalions of the Monywa Police Force have set up checkpoints within a three-mile radius of Nyaung Pin Gyi.

The violence has forced thousands of civilians from Nyaung Pin Gyi and nearby villages to flee their homes. The military reportedly took 10 of the displaced villagers captive when they tried to return to their homes in Nyaung Pin Gyi to retrieve essential items on Sunday, according to another local resident.

The military council still has not released any statement regarding recent hostilities in Sagaing Region.

The mutilated body of Vangyi, a 35-year-old member of the Salingyi Township people’s administration team, was found abandoned by the side of the road on Sunday morning. A member of the People’s Defence Forces (PDF) who went to retrieve his remains incurred severe injuries to his leg when he triggered an explosive device set near the body.

A military column transporting supplies to the Nyaung Pin Gyi police station reportedly caught Vangyi on May 31 as he was observing them for reconnaissance purposes. His whereabouts were unknown until local civilians found his body at around 10am on June 11, two days after the raid on the police station.

The military tied Vangyi’s hands behind his back and killed him by stabbing him twice in the chest, according to a spokesperson for the Salingyi Township people’s administration team, and his body showed signs of torture.

“There were signs of abuse all over his body and knife wounds on his chest and back. It appears that they used knives to cut flesh off of his back. He also had multiple bruises and one side of his head was bashed in,” the spokesperson said.

Vangyi’s body was found “just three football fields” away from where the junta forces were stationed, according to the spokesperson. He added that the people’s administration team learned the military had brought Vangyi to Monywa for questioning after holding him at the Nyaung Pin Gyi police station for a night.

Vangyi was a leader of the Thay Min Ta Man (Grim Reaper) Guerrilla Force, as well as working for the department of electrical energy as a member of the people’s administration team. His body was cremated on Sunday morning.

The vigil for Vangyi in Salingyi Township on June 11 (Supplied)

Related Articles

Back to top button