Locals say ‘half of their village is gone’ as Myanmar army follows airstrike with arson attack in Sagaing 

More than 100 homes were torched by junta troops in Thapyay Aye after the village in Sagaing Region’s Yinmabin Township was targeted in an air attack on Monday, locals said. 

After military aircraft fired guns on the community, a helicopter dropped off nearly 60 soldiers, who proceeded to set fire to houses in Thapyay Aye.  

“Over 100 houses might have been lost as the whole western side of the village is gone and the village originally had only over 200 houses,” a resident of Thapyay Aye said, adding, “Half of the village is gone now.”

A clash took place between the soldiers and local anti-junta defence forces at around 6pm on Tuesday, locals said.

“The battle last night was very serious,” another resident of Thapyay Aye told Myanmar Now. “The military stopped firing gunshots after the defence force fired an artillery shell at them.”

At the time of reporting, the troops were still occupying the village and staying in its monastery and locals who had fled were unable to return. 

Prior to the attack on Thapyay Aye, the military had carried out an airstrike and three-day raid on Chinpone, some 10 miles away, during which they held hundreds of locals captive, including dozens of young children, and killed at least nine people. 

As the soldiers left Chinpone on Monday, helicopters reportedly took them in the direction of Thapyay Aye. 

In addition to residents from Thapyay Aye, thousands of locals from Kyauk Pyoke, Moe Kaung and Obo villages were displaced by the attacks. 

The remains of the destroyed houses in Thapyay Aye village are seen on the morning of March 1 (Supplied)

In April last year, the military had attempted to arrest the head monk of Thapyay Aye monastery who was known to have led anti-dictatorship activities in Yinmabin Township. Locals fought back against the troops using muskets and handmade weapons in what was later described as the “Thapyay Aye Battles.” 

The village was one of the first places in the country where armed resistance against the junta flared in the wake of last year’s coup. 

The military has been carrying out violent raids on villages and torching homes in Sagaing and Magway regions as well as Chin and Karenni states. 

Local defence forces say that the attacks are an attempt by the junta to stop local support for the resistance. 

“The military has been instilling fear into the people to leave them poor and starving so that they are not able to focus on the revolution,” another local from Yinmabin Township said. “Do not give into the fear. The people must unite as one.”

Data for Myanmar, an organisation that has been collecting information on the junta’s activities since the coup in February last year, reported last week that more than 5,230 homes had been destroyed by the military during this period. Half were in Sagaing Region. 

Related Articles

Back to top button