Residents of more than 20 villages have been displaced by a series of attacks carried out by regime forces in Sagaing Region’s Kanbalu Township since Tuesday, according to resistance sources.
The attacks, which are centred around Htan Kone, a village located about 20km south of the town of Kanbalu, have forced more than 10,000 civilians to flee their homes, the sources said.
“Even residents of big villages are on the run. The total number could be as high as 20,000. There are around 4,000 in just one spot where we are providing help,” said a member of the anti-regime Kanbalu People’s Defence Force (PDF).
“I don’t know why they started launching assaults in the area, since there hasn’t been any recent fighting here. I guess they’re just bloodthirsty,” he added.
The attacks were being carried out by a junta column of more than 200 troops from Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 361, LIB 368, and Kanbalu-based Artillery Battalion 6006, as well as members of the military-backed Pyu Saw Htee militia, according to the PDF member.
The column reportedly divided into four groups to raid the villages of Kyun Pin Kone, Me The, Thayet Gaung, Shan Tat and Yaw Ywar, triggering panic among residents of these and other villages in the area.
A member of another Kanbalu-based resistance group told Myanmar Now that several homes had also been destroyed in the villages of Htauk Shar Ai and Kha Ohn Tar. The extent of the damage was still not known, he said, as residents have not been able to return since the attacks.
Anti-regime groups active in the area say that they are currently focussing on assisting the displaced villagers, as they are unable to fight back against the regime forces at this time.
Kanbalu Township is a stronghold of both the resistance and the pro-regime Pyu Saw Htee.
Airstrikes carried out on Pa Zi Gyi, a village in the eastern part of the township, on April 11 left more than 160 people, including dozens of children, dead. It was the junta’s single-worst attack on civilians since seizing power in a coup in February 2021.