Myanmar junta troops kill and rob 87-year-old IDP in Sagaing

Regime forces stole 450,000 kyat ($215) from an elderly, displaced  villager after killing him in Sagaing Region’s Htigyaing Township last Thursday, according to local sources.

Sein Maung, 87, was helping to bring supplies to other internally displaced persons (IDPs) when he encountered soldiers near Zee Thaung, a village about 10km northwest of the town of Htigyaing, the sources told Myanmar Now.

“He ran into the junta column as it was leaving Zee Thaung after carrying out an arson attack at a bridge near the village entrance,” said an official of the township’s anti-junta People’s Administration Team.

“He was shot dead and his body was dumped on a pile of chaff on the side of the road,” the official added.

Citing relatives of the victim, locals said that the military also stole 450,000 kyat from his body, which residents of Zee Thaung found upon returning to the village after the military left.

The body was cremated in Zee Thaung later the same day.

The killing came just over a week after junta soldiers shot and killed three men between the ages of 50 and 60, including two with intellectual disabilities, at close range in the village of Ma Au Pin in Sagaing’s Shwebo Township on November 30.

According to a recent statement by the Htigyaing People’s Administration Team, the junta column that killed Sein Maung—from Light Infantry Battalion 415, under Light Infantry Division 88—has committed a number of arson attacks in the northern part of the township since last month.

Altogether, military forces operating in the area have destroyed a total of 674 houses in 18 villages in recent weeks, the statement claimed.

In Zee Thaung alone, residents said that regime soldiers burned down at least 100 houses on the day before Sein Maung’s death.

Myanmar’s junta routinely denies carrying out arson attacks targeting civilian property. In statements released earlier this month, the regime claimed that resistance fighters from the People’s Defence Force and Kachin Independence Army were responsible for recent arson attacks in northern Sagaing.

Meanwhile, the attacks have directly contributed to the soaring number of IDPs in Sagaing and other parts of Myanmar. In just two weeks, thousands of Htigyaing Township residents have been displaced, according to locals.

“People who were already displaced have had to flee again, and others are making preparations to flee. Some are burying their valuables or shipping them elsewhere. People are arranging accommodation in nearby villages in case their houses get burned down,” said a local volunteer who works with IDPs.

According to the latest estimates of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, there are 1.4 million IDPs in Myanmar, of whom 1.1 million have been displaced since the February 2021 coup.

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