Soldiers threaten to burn down Mandalay Region village after residents denounce ‘military dogs’

Over 100 people fled a village in Mandalay Region’s Kyaukpadaung Township last week after the junta’s forces arrived and threatened to burn down every house if residents there continued to refer to soldiers as “military dogs,” two locals told Myanmar Now. 

Police and plainclothes soldiers arrived at Latpan Kyin in more than 10 military trucks on Sunday and fired their guns in the air. The village has about 100 households. 

One Latpan Kyin resident said that the military left after two nights once they forced community leaders in the village to sign pledges. 

“They made them pledge not to protest and not to call them military dogs,” he said. “They’re worried we might harm their informant, so they made influential people sign the pledge and threatened to burn down the village next time.” 

The evening before the soldiers arrived, Latpan Kyin villagers staged an anti-coup protest with banners reading: “Everyone revolt against the military dogs!” and “Never forgive. Never negotiate.”

The resident, who was among those who led the protest, said he believed the military had hoped to capture him and other activists during the raid. But soldiers left without making arrests after everyone fled except supporters of the military’s Union Solidarity and Development Party, he added. 

The raid came after a conflict between a large number of residents and the village administrator, Htay Win, who is an alleged military informant, the resident said.  

“The informant in our village has been asking the military to come for a while now,” he said. “He’s the administrator of the village. There was one occasion where the whole village threw rocks at him. He’s been calling the military to come ever since. He wants revenge, I guess.”

Residents initially fled to neighbouring villages but then moved to towns further away after hearing rumours that soldiers were searching the surrounding area. 

Another Latpan Kyin resident said the military searched an activist’s house and stole 400,000 kyat, and also confiscated a man and a woman’s mobile phones.

Soldiers also fired shots in the air to scare people, he said. “They talked for a while and just started shooting.”

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