Two civilians killed as military campaign in Sagaing forces thousands into hiding

At least two civilians were confirmed dead over the weekend following the start of a major military campaign that began in Sagaing Region’s Kyunhla Township late last week, according to local sources.

One victim, a 50-year-old man named Win Naing, was killed in Kywete, a village on the western side of the Thapanseik dam, at around 4am on Saturday, a resident of the village told Myanmar Now.

The incident occurred after Win Naing was informed by military authorities that his wife had been injured the previous day. He was on his way to pick her up when he was shot dead, the Kywete local said.

“The military told him that the bullet was extracted [from his wife] and that her wound had been stitched up, so he could come and get her,” the villager said, adding that another person who was accompanying Win Naing managed to escape.

The village has been deserted since last Friday, when around 100 troops arrived by helicopter as part of an offensive against resistance forces in the area.

Another victim was found dead in the village of Hlut Taik, on the eastern side of the Thapanseik dam, which was also raided on Friday following airstrikes in the area the day before.

The charred remains of the victim, identified as 30-year-old Nyein Tun, were discovered early Saturday, according to a local resident who spoke to Myanmar Now on condition of anonymity.

“He was trying to escape through a back door when the military broke into his house through the front. He was shot while trying to flee,” said the villager, who added that the house was later doused with gasoline and set on fire. 

Another Hlut Taik resident, 30-year-old Kyaw Zin Tun, was captured by regime forces and has not been heard from since, local sources said.

Volunteers working with displaced civilians said that around 3,000 residents have been forced to go into hiding since troops started pouring into the area last week.  

A woman from Kywete described the current situation as extremely tense, as troops shell villages and surrounding areas in an effort to target resistance forces and terrorize civilians.

“We just took whatever we could and ran when they started shelling the villages. We spent the whole night in a bunker. We couldn’t even eat or drink. There is no safety at all now, not even for cows or kids,” she said.

In a statement broadcast on military-owned Myawaddy TV over the weekend, junta spokesperson Maj-Gen Zaw Min Tun called on members of the public to cooperate with the regime’s efforts to defeat “terrorists” opposed to its rule.

“We would like to urge the people to collaborate with the military in working towards peace and tranquility of the community,” he said.

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