Junta troops raid monastery in Depayin

Regime forces raided a monastery in Sagaing Region’s Depayin Township on Tuesday after an alleged tip that People’s Defence Force (PDF) members had been training residents there.

Around 30 soldiers stormed the monastery in Yin Kye village, 16km south of Depayin town, at around 7am on Tuesday. Members of the anti-junta civilian resistance force in the village fought back with handmade rifles.

“They came here after receiving information that combat training was provided at the back of my monastery,” U Thuzarta, the abbot of the monastery, said. “They seized our national registration cards and other documents they found here. They also ate here and even took our tea leaves.” 

At around 1pm, members of the Depayin PDF attacked the regime soldiers who occupied the monastery, the abbot said, adding that the junta’s forces retreated after an hour-long clash between the two armed groups.

“The shooting took place in my monastery compound. Locals shot at soldiers from outside the monastery and soldiers fired back with heavy artillery. The kids from the village did not dare to come out. The soldiers fired heavy artillery twice,” U Thuzarta told Myanmar Now.

He blamed the coup regime’s armed forces for instigating the battle. 

“The fighting broke out because the locals could not tolerate this raid. Local PDFs from all over the township came to help the villagers,” the abbot added.

Before retreating, the junta’s forces reportedly broke glass windows, damaged walls of monastery rooms, stole four motorcycles and seized 1.5 million kyat (around US$900).

“Since the villagers delivered the message that locals from the whole of Depayin Township were ready to fight back against them, the soldiers opened fire indiscriminately. There were no casualties on either side but my monastery was badly destroyed,” said U Thuzarta. 

The soldiers also arrested a man on their way to the town of Ayadaw, more than 70km south of Depayin, a Yin Kye villager told Myanmar Now.

Earlier that day, regime soldiers also stormed Kin Mun Taw village in Sagaing Region’s Chaung-U township, nearly 100km south of Depayin, in a pre-dawn raid. They accused villagers there of making weapons.

“A house was crushed. It was made from wood and bamboo. They just smashed it. They opened fire as they entered the village,” a Kin Mun Taw villager told Myanmar Now.

Three villagers were arrested in the raid and three houses in the village were destroyed after soldiers stole items of value from them, according to the local man. 

“I was not at home. They took my dad. They also took a butcher, who is one of our neighbours. Some villagers have fled since the raid,” he said. 

The soldiers also raided Kin Mun Taw on May 27 with the same allegation, that villagers were making traditional hunting rifles which have been used against junta troops. 

In late March, residents of five villages in Depayin Township fled their homes after troops seized control of Thabyaygone and Tei Taw villages. 

The regime has carried out several raids in villages across Sagaing Region since late March on the pretext of searching for anti-coup activists or searching for weapons.

A spokesperson from the coup council could not be reached for comment regarding those raids.


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