Soldiers burn houses and barns, kill livestock during raids on villages in south of Kalay 

Soldiers have burned down around 20 houses and two barns in villages in the south of Sagaing Region’s Kalay Township in recent days, locals told Myanmar Now.  

They torched some 10 homes in the village of Lel Char on Wednesday morning in an apparent bid to destroy places they suspected of hosting members of the People’s Defence Force (PDF), a local there said.  

The reports of arson came two days after a column of some 70 soldiers marched through the village of Yaeshin and set fire to ten houses and two barns, another local said.  

“They torched both the houses they thought had connections with the PDF and those that had absolutely no ties with any resistance forces. It was done out of spite I assume,” said the local.

“Two barns were also torched and there were two more houses that they tried to set fire to but failed,” he added.

Yaeshin locals said the soldiers also looted the houses and killed and ate villagers’ livestock.

A military unit containing soldiers and plainclothes militants from the Pyu Saw Htee group is stationed in Kyauk Pyote village, four miles away from Yaeshin, and the unit has been raiding Yaeshin on a daily basis since November 27.

Soldiers torched five huts near Yaeshin that served as shelters for locals on November 28 after detaining the huts’ three owners and taking their supplies, locals said. 

“They made the hut owners send supplies to Kyauk Pyoke village where soldiers and Pyu Saw Htee members were stationed on three carts,” said another local from Yeshin.

“They not only got their properties torched but also had to send their belongings to them. It’s not humane,” he added. 

Yaeshin village has over 300 households and a population of over 1,000, many of whom have fled in fear of more violence by soldiers.  

Another 70 soldiers were stationed at the monastery in nearby Tinthar village and have been attacking neighbouring villages, said a member of the Kalay PDF who goes by the name Victor. 

Hundreds have fled recent military violence from villages on the banks of the Myittha river in Kalay, including Tinthar, Kyaukhpu, Doenwe, Innkyun, Yaeshin, Koke Ko, Lel Char and Shartaw.

A Yaeshin local who fled said vital supplies are scarce: “We have enough rice as we managed to bring some along with us. We have some vegetables as well since we are taking shelter in the woods, but it’s not enough.”

He added: “The biggest problem is water. We don’t have enough clean water in the woods. There’s very little water in the streams so it’s our biggest challenge.” 

On November 9 junta soldiers raided the base of the Kalay PDF’s Battalion 3, killing three PDF members and detaining nine of the group’s medics.

Then on November 21 the PDF killed five junta troops, and lost two of its own, when it attacked the soldiers and Pyu Saw Htee members stationed in Kyauk Pyote. 

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