Junta soldiers burn homes, crops and livestock during stay at village in Taze  

Junta soldiers have burned down around 20 houses and badly damaged eight others during a days-long rampage at a village in Sagaing Region’s Taze Township, residents there have told Myanmar Now. 

About 100 soldiers entered Pu Tee, which is about 10 miles north of the town of Taze, on Saturday, days after most residents fled upon learning the troops were on their way. Some sick and elderly residents stayed behind. 

The soldiers set up camp in Pu Tee and stayed for three nights, during which time they ransacked buildings and set fires in the south and west of the village. The blazes also destroyed rice crops and killed livestock, locals said. 

“All the rice is gone. Only ashes are left,” said one local man. “I heard the pigs were all killed as well.” 

It is the sixth time that soldiers have raided Pu Tee since Taze became a hotbed of armed resistance against the junta last year. Soldiers also burned homes in Pu Tee during their third raid on the village late last year, locals said.

The troops left the village on Tuesday evening, but residents have still not returned to assess the full extent of the damage.

Junta representatives could not be reached for comment at the phone numbers listed for them online. The military council has previously blamed arson attacks in villages on “terrorists”, the term it uses to describe armed resistance forces and other anti-coup groups.  

Pu Tee’s residents, who are now sheltering in surrounding villages or with family and friends, say the raids have badly damaged their livelihoods. 

“We need to harvest our chickpeas… and peanuts and mung beans as well, but we can’t because we’re all on the run,” said a second resident. “They never even spare the rice crops during the raids. They just destroy everything they see.”

After leaving Pu Tee, the soldiers marched to the nearby village of Htan Kone Gyi, where they destroyed nine houses and detained two villagers to use as guides, according to a member of the Taze People’s Defence Force (PDF).

Then on Wednesday at around 4pm, they set more fires in another village called Pay Chaung, the PDF member said. It is unclear how much damage was caused by those fires as witnesses saw smoke but were unable to enter the village. 

Local defence forces say that since the coup junta soldiers in Taze Township have burned down 118 houses and smashed, ransacked and looted another 221.

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