Military aircraft fired guns at a village in Sagaing Region’s Yinmarbin Township on Monday morning before dropping off dozens of soldiers who began setting fire to houses, fleeing locals have said.
One man was reportedly killed during the 30-minute air attack on Thapyay Aye as he tried to flee the village on his motorcycle, one of the locals said.
The helicopters appear to have come from Chinpone, where junta troops killed nine and held scores of young children hostage over the weekend.
Two fighter jets and two logistics helicopters came from the east and south of the village to carry out the air attack, said two other local residents. The helicopters dropped off about 60 soldiers at around 12:30pm, they added.
The villagers say they do not know the full extent of the damage from the air and arson attacks.
“We saw that they also torched several houses and buildings in the village. There were big clouds of smoke,” said one of the villagers. “We could see the smoke until 3pm. We don’t know which buildings were torched though.”
They added that some 5,000 people fled the nearby villages of Moe Kaung and Kyauk Pyoke in the wake of the attack.
The villager who said a man was killed added that gunshots could be heard from the village until 3pm. He did not know why Thapyay Aye was targeted, he added.
Junta officials could not be reached for comment.
Thapyay Aye was one of the first places in the country where armed resistance against the junta flared in the wake of last year’s coup.
In early April locals armed with hunting rifles attacked soldiers who had come to arrest a prominent monk and anti-coup activist known as the Thapyay Aye Sayadaw.