Myanmar army troops kill four civilians in raids on villages along Ayeyarwady River

Junta troops killed at least four civilians last week in a series of raids carried out on both sides of the Ayeyarwady River in Sagaing and Mandalay regions, according to resistance sources.

The victims, who included a monk and two women, were killed between March 13 and 18 in four villages in Sagaing and Madaya townships, the sources said.

Two junta columns of around 100 troops each reportedly launched the raids from ferries and motorboats on the Ayeyarwady River, while regime forces also fired heavy artillery at villages in Sagaing from Madaya Township, which is on the opposite side of the river in Mandalay Region.

The shelling claimed the life of at least one person in the Sagaing Township village of Mezali, according to a local defence team leader. 

“A monk was hit by a 60mm shell while he was inside his monastery in Mezali. It reportedly fell right on his head and killed him instantly,” said Kaung Kin, the deputy chief of the Pyin Oo Lwin District People’s Defence Team.

Also killed were a man who was captured in the village of Po Wa and a disabled woman who died after her home in the village of Mway Kha La was set on fire while she was still inside, he added. 

Another woman in her 30s was found dead in the village of Shwe Ge Pyan and is believed to have been raped.

“The woman’s body showed signs of a struggle, including scratches and torn clothes. Her body was in pretty bad condition when we found it,” said Kaung Kin.

The body of a woman found in Shwe Ge Pyan, a village Mandalay Region’s Madaya Township, on March 18 

In addition to Po Wa, Shwe Ge Pyan, and Mway Kha La, other villages targeted by the raids included Mway Myit Yoe, Mway Ye Yin, Mway Pathein, Mway Ka Toe Seik, and Sein Pan Kone, he added.

Fires set by the regime forces destroyed more than 100 houses and other buildings in these villages, including two schools in Po Wa, the Pyin Oo Lwin District People’s Defence Team’s records showed.

According to Kaung Kin, the junta troops were also repeatedly attacked by a coalition of local resistance forces, resulting in the death of 12 soldiers. Myanmar Now was unable to independently confirm this information.

On Wednesday, another clash was reported when a column of around 50 regime soldiers started setting fire to more houses in Po Wa during an early-morning raid. No casualty figures were available at the time of reporting.

Similar attacks took place in the same area last December, displacing residents of at least 20 villages. 

Two 19-year-old residents of Po Wa were captured and killed at the time while acting as scouts for the village’s defence team. The bodies of the victims, Pyae Pyae Kyaw and Nine Naing, were both set on fire, sources said.

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