Military burns down 10 houses of people affiliated with NLD in Kanbalu, Sagaing 

Myanmar army troops and members of the pro-junta network Pyu Saw Htee raided a village in Sagaing Region’s Kanbalu Township on Wednesday and burned down at least 10 homes, according to locals. 

The 30 men came to the 300-household Yi Dway village—seven miles from Kanbalu town—in a military truck and three civilian vehicles at around 2pm, shooting their guns seemingly at random as they arrived, causing the residents to flee. 

A 30-year-old resident told Myanmar Now that the troops then began systematically setting fire to the homes of villagers known to have supported the National League for Democracy (NLD), whose elected government was ousted in a military coup in February. 

“We started running in panic as soon as we heard the gunshots. They torched every single house that was a supporter of the Red [NLD party],” he said. “They also took all the rice and oil that were in those houses.”

The men reportedly left the village around three hours later. 

Wednesday’s raid was the seventh in Yi Dway in the months since the coup due to residents’ involvement in the anti-dictatorship movement. Junta soldiers looted homes in the village in a similar raid carried out on October 10, locals said, and in June, some 50 members of the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party, while wielding guns, bats and swords, destroyed the homes of four NLD supporters in the community. 

One of the women whose home was torched this week said she thought that since she had family members already in prison, she would not be further persecuted by the junta. 

“Both my husband and my father are still in detention for taking part in the protests. I didn’t think they’d actually destroy my house since they’d already arrested them both. I couldn’t salvage anything,” she said.

“They said I had connections with the PDF,” she added. “My whole family was terrorised after being accused of being involved with the PDF.”

The remains of a house in Yi Dway village, Kanbalu township, after it was destroyed by the military on June 17 (Supplied)

Locals said that the raid came just hours after a landmine attack by resistance forces on 10 junta police officers on their way to Yi Dway on Wednesday morning at around 8am to investigate the murder of a known Pyu Saw Htee member one day earlier.

The man who was assassinated, Pu Tuu, was a retired Myanmar army soldier who had been seen accompanying military units during raids on area villages. 

The anti-junta group calling themselves the “Kanbalu Underground Warriors” claimed responsibility for the attack and the assassination. The ambush injured a local police chief and two other officers. They were sent to Monywa military hospital, according to the leader of the group.

“We used three explosives. A motorcycle was blown up into the air,” he said, adding that the raid on Yi Dway on Wednesday was likely in retaliation for their attack. “I think the military was taking out their frustration on the village as their informant was killed, and they were also attacked with mines.”

The resistance group in question has been assassinating alleged military informants and Pyu Saw Htee members in Kanbalu Township in recent months; one of their attacks on June 2 resulted in the death of a police sub-inspector.

Myanmar Now tried to contact the Kanbalu police station regarding the allegations against them in the township, but all calls went unanswered. 

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