Myanmar military razes villages after resistance forces seize weapons parts 

Junta troops torched at least 10 villages in central Myanmar after an alliance of local defence forces in Magway Region’s Pauk Township attacked an army convoy last week and confiscated a haul of materials used to build arms. 

Resistance groups intercepted the three military trucks on April 6 as they transported the parts—believed to be used in the assembly of mortar shells—from the Thayet Township-based No. 12 Defence Industry factory, commonly known as DI-12, to a second factory in Pauk. The guerrilla forces claimed to have captured seven soldiers, including a captain. 

One day after the assault, the military carried out airstrikes as part of “clearance operations” against several villages in Pakokku, Pauk and Seikphyu townships, according to Sun Ye, a battalion commander within Pauk Township’s anti-junta People’s Defence Force (PDF). 

At the time of reporting, he said that the Myanmar army was still razing communities in the southern part of Pauk Township, the whole of which has some 235 villages, according to data compiled by the Myanmar Information Management Unit prior to the February coup. 

“All of the locals have been displaced. Only two to three villages have been spared. They have torched and destroyed the rest,” he told Myanmar Now on Tuesday, referring to the destruction carried out in southern Pauk in the 14 months since the military coup. 

Weapons parts seized from the junta by resistance forces on April 6 (Pauk PDF)

In the week since the roadside attack on the junta convoy, the military set fire to at least seven villages in the area, including one—Boet Mei—that was targeted a second time on Tuesday, according to Sun Ye.

“Only one-third of the village is left now. The rest has been reduced to ashes. I heard they were torching it again this morning,” the Pauk PDF leader said of Boet Mei.

He pointed to two junta columns of 80 and 150 soldiers each as being responsible for terrorising villages in the township, as well as having engaged in four clashes with the Pauk PDF in five days. 

Sun Ye estimated that around 20 junta troops were killed in the battles.

According to a man from nearby Pakokku Township, the military torched homes in the village of Myit Phyar, as well as in Yae Kyaw and Kyaung Kone villages on April 7. 

Some 106 of Myit Phyar’s 430 households were burned down and one man killed, he said. 

He added that a resident of Gawun Lay Taing and three locals from the village of Sa Nyaung were also killed by the military on the same day.

The Pakokku local reported that a woman in her 80s was killed in a military fire set in the village of Shar Hla in Seik Phyu Township on Monday, and another man from the community died after triggering an explosive device set by Myanmar army troops at the village’s entrance before they left.

Myanmar Now was unable to independently verify the reported deaths of villagers in Myit Phyar, Gawun Lay Taing, Sa Nyaung and Shar Hla.

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