Teenage boy and his grandmother killed in junta raid on Sagaing Region village

The burnt bodies of the victims, age 14 and 67, are found on their farm in Kalay Township as Myanmar army soldiers carry out a days-long arson attack on their village

A 67-year-old woman and her 14-year-old grandson were killed on Saturday during the military occupation of their village in Sagaing Region’s Kalay Township, local sources said. 

According to the Chin National Organisation–Upper Chindwin Region (CNO-UCR), the charred remains of Nu Ngaih Hnem and Salai Van Bwai Mang, who were both ethnic Chin residents of Set Kant, were found on their farm in the community later that day. 

“They fled the war, but the grandmother wanted to pick mustard from their farm, so she and her grandson went back by motorcycle,” CNO-UCR spokesperson Salai Lian Pi said. “It is not known how they were killed. Their bodies were burned and their motorcycle was also set on fire.”

A unit of more than 100 soldiers converged on 900-household Set Kant on Saturday morning, setting fire to homes immediately and in the days that followed.

A man in his 20s from Kalay town estimated that “at least a few hundred” residences had been destroyed. 

“They are burning houses morning, noon and night,” he told Myanmar Now on Monday.

Smoke rises from Set Kant village on October 8 as occupying junta soldiers set fire to homes (Supplied)

While nearly everyone fled Set Kant, four men—two who were elderly and two with intellectual disabilities—reportedly stayed behind. No one has been able to establish contact with them. 

“Their families are quite worried. We don’t even know what they are eating and how they are living,” CNO-UCR’s Salai Lian Pi said. 

The organisation issued a warning to residents of the area to exercise caution when travelling, as the Myanmar army had been firing heavy weapons in the vicinity from its camp on Taung Pilar, a nearby hill. 

“[The soldiers] are desperately trying to control the area,” the man in Kalay said. 

Set Kant was initially raided by junta troops in January 2022, at which time they burnt down 89 houses. 

Kalay, itself a resistance stronghold, is seen as a pivotal entry point to neighbouring Chin State, where several anti-junta groups have established significant territorial control. Multiple junta battalions have set up camp in or passed through the township since the 2021 coup.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 1.7 million people have been displaced nationwide during this period, around half of whom—more than 813,000—are from Sagaing Region. Civil society organisations and resistance groups working on the ground and providing support to fleeing populations have pointed to the UN agency’s lack of access to areas outside of the junta’s control as a reason why its figures are likely an underestimate.

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