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Girl and elderly woman killed as junta raids continue in northern Myanmar

Junta troops killed a teenage girl and an elderly woman during an attack on a village in Sagaing Region’s Taze Township on Saturday, according to local resistance sources.

Thae Oo Phyu, 15, died after being shot in the thigh and chest, while the other victim, a 70-year-old woman who could not be identified at the time of reporting, burned to death after her home in the village of Sein Sar was set on fire, the sources said.

“The old lady couldn’t run and became trapped inside her house when the military started torching houses,” a member of a defence force active in the area told Myanmar Now.

Five houses in Sein Char and several others in the neighbouring villages of Chaung Yoe and Del Yauk were burned down, he said, adding that the attacks occurred after an hour-long clash between junta troops and resistance fighters that began at around 11am on Saturday. 

He also claimed that a number of regime soldiers were killed in the battle, and that five guns and ammunition had been seized.

Meanwhile, local sources in Pale Township, southwest of Taze, reported the destruction of around 300 homes in two villages there late last week.

According to the sources, around 80 soldiers and members of the military-backed Pyu Saw Htee militia set fire to more than 250 houses on Thursday and at least 40 more the next day.

The junta column started to fire on Hnaw Yoe, the first village to come under attack, with heavy artillery at around 8am on Thursday, a resident told Myanmar Now.

“Once they had control of the village, they stationed themselves there and started torching houses in the evening,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

According to the man, eight people were arrested during the raid. Four were released later the same day, and the other four were freed on Friday evening. Those in the latter group were severely injured, he said. 

The day after the attack on Hnaw Yoe, the junta column moved on to Thapyay Aye, another village less than 2km away. 

The regime forces clashed briefly with resistance fighters after entering the village, and later started setting fire to most of the houses there, according to a member of an anti-regime group that took part in the fighting.

“The village had more than 40 houses, but now there are only four still standing. Those four and the monastery are all that’s left,” he said.

Myanmar’s junta has destroyed more than 6,700 civilian homes since seizing power in February of last year, according to Data for Myanmar, an independent group that monitors crimes committed by the regime.

More than half of those attacks have been in Sagaing Region, where a total of 3,968 homes have been destroyed as of March 7, the group’s figures show.

Nationwide, regime forces torched 2,882 houses last month alone and another 592 in the first week of March, according to the group.

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