Residents of Yae Myet in Sagaing’s Region’s Ye-U Township say their village was torched by junta troops on Wednesday, two days after it was hit by an aerial attack.
Regime forces assaulted the village, located about 30km northwest of the town of Ye-U, in five helicopters on Monday, forcing most of its inhabitants to flee.
“They surrounded the village from all four directions and started shooting. They focused on the eastern and western parts of the village. So much was destroyed,” said one villager who managed to escape.
On Wednesday, residents of Yae Myet said they could see smoke and flames rising from the village from around 10am until 2pm.
A number of buildings were also torched on Monday, they added.
Meanwhile, around 5,000 people from neighbouring villages, including Gwet, Naypukone, Euyin, Natgyikone and Sinthaykone, have also been displaced by attacks.
“They were firing from both air and land, so everyone in Gwet had to run. Some returned later when the shooting stopped, but they had to flee again when the soldiers stationed in Yae Myet opened fire on them,” said one Gwet villager.
According to the villager, the military has been carrying out operations in areas north, south, and west of Yae Myet since the raid on Monday.
One woman who was working in a nearby field when the assault began said that she and a few others hid in a farm for about two hours as the junta troops carried out their attack.
“We could see the flashes from their guns. They were firing non-stop. They even used artillery and machine guns. It was so loud,” she said.
Sources told Myanmar Now that around 40 sick and elderly people had been left behind during the attack. On Wednesday morning, they were told to leave, the sources said.
On Tuesday, the junta released a statement saying that it had targeted Yae Myet because it had received information that resistance forces were holding a meeting there.
According to the statement, the meeting was attended by the Kachin Independence Army and around 100 members of the anti-regime People’s Defence Force.
It added that four people were captured and killed in the raid, but did not mention the use of helicopters in carrying out the attack.
Residents said the number of people killed was likely much higher, but could not confirm this as they were not able to return to the village.
Last Friday, a similar raid on the village of Hnan Khar in Magway Region was believed to have left at least 20 people dead. However, residents who returned when soldiers retreated several days later only managed to recover nine bodies.
Earlier this month, the military used heavy artillery and an attack helicopter to mount an assault on a cluster of five villages in Depayin Township, near Ye-U.
On Tuesday, residents of Son Kone in Depayin Township discovered the bodies of three local people, including one child, who appeared to have been tortured and executed by soldiers who occupied the village over the weekend.