Soldiers burn hundreds of homes in northern Myanmar villages 

Junta soldiers have burned hundreds of homes in villages in Sagaing Region’s Khin-U Township this month, locals residents and resistance fighters have said.  

The troops set fires in seven different villages between March 5 and March 16, destroying at least 337 houses, according to records compiled by the Khin-U People’s Defence Force (PDF). 

Three trucks carrying about 100 soldiers arrived at Kular Luu at around 1:30pm on March 16 before setting fire to 75 homes, more than a third of the village’s 200 houses. 

A military informant showed the soldiers which houses to burn, a resident said. Before arriving, the soldiers fired artillery shells at the village, he added. 

Kular Luu at the time was sheltering people who had fled the village of Tamoke after soldiers burned houses there just days earlier.    

“We were cooking lunch for the displaced locals from Tamoke village when they arrived,” said the Kular Luu resident. “They fired three heavy artillery shells before entering the village. They only entered the village, armed with rifles, after most of the villagers had fled upon hearing the artillery.” 

He did not know if there were any casualties during the raid.

About an hour after setting the fires in Kular Luu, the soldiers moved on to neighbouring Shar Lwin, where they burned down 63 of the village’s 140 houses. 

A resident of Shar Lwin whose house was destroyed in the fire said he fled when he heard gunshots from Kular Luu, which is just a few hundred metres away. 

“We tried to go back into the village when the situation seemed calm again but when we got close they fired nine artillery shells at us,” he added.

The soldiers stayed in Shar Lwin overnight and left at 11am the next morning, after which the villagers returned to assess the damage and found that recently harvested rice and other crops were also destroyed in the fire. 

“I just think this is very inhumane,” the Shar Lwin resident said. “They don’t even know how much those houses cost. It pains us deeply as we had to build those houses with our hard-earned money. It angers us a lot too.” 

Villages in Khin-U Township that were torched between March 5 and March 16 (Myanmar Now)

On March 15, soldiers clashed with resistance fighters near Tamoke, which is about four miles from Shar Lwin and Kalar Luu. After the clash, the junta soldiers fired artillery shells at Tamoke, before raiding it and burning down almost all of its 100 homes.  

Some 300 people from Tamoke took shelter in Shar Lwin and Kalar Luu. 

Before Shar Lwin, Kular Luu and Tamoke were burned, soldiers torched homes in the villages of Dan Kone, Mone Taw, Kyun Lel, and Thet Pay, according to the Khin-U PDF. 

Around 1,000 people have been displaced by the arson attacks, the residents of Kalar Luu and Shar Lwin estimated.   

The remains of houses in Shar Lwin that were burned by the military on March 16 (Supplied)

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