An elderly man and woman who stayed behind as others fled a two-day junta attack on the village of Taung Pyin Nge in Sagaing Region’s Ye-U Township were found dead on Tuesday, locals and a resistance force spokesperson confirmed.
The military raided Taung Pyin Nge on Sunday evening after two helicopters sent in soldiers and a fighter jet opened fire on the village. The attack and occupation continued until Monday, forcing more than 15,000 residents of 12 area villages to flee.
“Everyone was on their own when the military started the raid. No one could save anyone,” a villager from Taung Pyin Nge told Myanmar Now.
He identified the deceased man as 80-year-old Maung Oo, who was found collapsed in front of his house. The woman who died was Shwe Tin, whose age is not confirmed, but she had reportedly suffered from severe kidney disease.
“The other victim was very sick and I think she died in the cold because there was no one to look after her or feed her. She was all alone for two whole days, after all. She was found dead in her bed,” he explained.
Both villagers were cremated on Tuesday.
Taung Pyin Nge, as well as the neighbouring villages of Palu Zawa, Auk Yae Twin and Aung Thukha, were targeted in the two-day attack. They are located just four miles from the Chindwin River, where the military’s marine vessels have been known to attack communities along its shores.
In a military statement released after the attack on Taung Pyin Nge, the junta said their forces had raided the village because resistance fighters who carried out an earlier attack on the Winmana police station in Kani Township—some 17 miles away—were stationed there.
A spokesperson for the Ye-U People’s Defence Force (PDF) denied the claim.
During the 50-hour military occupation of the village, 68 residents, including children, were detained in the Taung Pyin Nge monastery after initially being held in the local school. They were released on Tuesday morning, according to another villager.
An RPG fired by the military into the community destroyed three homes, the villager said, adding that all the houses in Taung Pyin Nge had been looted by the soldiers before they left.
Junta forces reportedly proceeded towards the village of Palu Zawa, three miles away, and destroyed food supplies there before leaving on Thursday morning.
Those who fled Taung Pyin Nge have not dared to return home, the villager added.
The Ye-U PDF spokesperson told Myanmar Now that the junta must be held accountable for the deaths of the two elderly residents in Taung Pyin Nge.
“They would not have died if only they’d had someone to look after them. The military council must take full responsibility for this,” he said, adding, “I just hope the dictatorship will fall as soon as possible.”
Some 100 troops brought into the area went on to raid villages in neighbouring Mingin Township, the PDF spokesperson said, including Moe Kaung, Hti Za Loke, Wet Pote and Gway Tauk Kaing on Wednesday afternoon, displacing some 2,000 villagers.
The military council has intensified its operations in Sagaing Region, which is known for being a resistance stronghold.