Junta forces burn last remaining homes in Taze Township village 

Junta forces razed what was left of the village of In Pin Thar in Sagaing Region’s Taze Township on Tuesday morning in their third attack on the community in recent months, locals said. 

Residents of the 40-household village had already fled by the time of the raid.

“They torched the houses that had been spared last time,” an In Pin Thar villager told Myanmar Now on the condition of anonymity, referring to a previous attack on the community on January 29 in which seven homes were torched.

Some 100 soldiers stationed in the 400-household village of Kyun Lel—two miles from In Pin Thar and 20 miles east of Taze town—initially raided In Pin Thar on December 27, accompanied by members of the pro-military Pyu Saw Htee network. 

In the first assault, a 30-year-old man named Nan Oo was abducted and later killed, according to the villager.  

“We fled right after the first raid. No one stayed behind since they started destroying houses,” the villager said. “They ransacked every house and broke valuable items, and took what they wanted.”  

He said that these same forces carried out the subsequent attacks on In Pin Thar in January and on Tuesday. 

An officer within the anti-junta Taze People’s Defence Force (PDF) said that hundreds of soldiers from Infantry Battalion 367 had been staying in Kyun Lel and had been providing combat training to military supporters from other area villages in order to join the Pyu Saw Htee.

“They are terrorising the small villages in the area. They have also asked for rice, oil and supplies from the locals,” the officer told Myanmar Now, claiming that locals were running away to avoid being forced to attend the military training. 

A video circulating on social media showed villagers at the monastery in Kyun Lel welcoming Myanmar army soldiers with flowers. The clip was allegedly filmed after raids on other area villages.

A man could be heard in the footage saying, “What can the PDFs do now? Come on, attack us, if you dare. Ladies and gentlemen, see how the families from Kyun Lel, Muu Kyin and Bay Yin villages are welcoming the soldiers.”

“I can sleep in peace because the army is here,” the man in the video added. 

In a screenshot from a widely shared video on social media, Kyun Lel villagers are seen welcoming Myanmar army soldiers on February 17 (Facebook)

According to the Taze PDF officer, the villages of Kyun Lel, Kabe and Bay Yin have historically been supportive of the pro-military Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and generally opposed the National League for Democracy (NLD), whose elected civilian government was ousted in the military coup in February of last year. 

The In Pin Thar villager who spoke to Myanmar Now said that locals who had supported the NLD now feel threatened in those communities, which locals reportedly refer to as the “Pyu Saw Htee villages,” or the “Three Pyu Saw Htee Brothers.”

“There’s nothing we can do but run,” he said. 

The military council has not responded to calls for comment on the allegations against them in Taze.

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