Villagers displaced by Pa Zi Gyi attacks in need of food, medicine

Thousands of civilians displaced since last month’s deadly junta airstrikes on the village of Pa Zi Gyi in Sagaing Region’s Kanbalu Township are in dire need of food and other necessities, according to resistance sources.

Residents of at least 10 villages in the area have been forced to flee their homes since the April 11 attack, which is estimated to have killed more than 150 people, including dozens of children.

A week after the aerial assault, junta troops began raiding villages around Pa Zi Gyi as part of a clearance operation targeting local resistance forces. Fears of further airstrikes have forced many civilians to hide in small groups.

According to an officer of the Kanbalu District chapter of the anti-junta People’s Defence Force (PDF), most are sheltering in forested areas, where they have limited access to food and medicine.

“They have some dried food, but it’s barely enough to survive on. And some of the older people are in need of more nutritious food and supplements. They’ve become quite feeble from having to keep moving at night to evade the military,” he said.

He added that there are also many pregnant women among the displaced villagers.

Nearly a month after the attack on Pa Zi Gyi, resistance forces say they now have a more accurate estimate of the number of people killed in the incident.

While the publicly mandated National Unity Government initially put the death count at 168, that figure has since been revised to 155, according to the PDF officer.

“The previous number was higher because we were trying to count bodies that had been torn apart. The new, confirmed figure is based on interviews with every household in the village,” he said.

Among those killed were 18 infants, five pregnant women, and 42 people over the age of 65. Another 32 people were injured, including many who had to have limbs amputated, according to the PDF officer.

Most of the victims were residents of Pa Zi Gyi, which had a population of around 800 before the attack. However, some were from neighbouring villages.

The airstrikes and subsequent raids by ground troops resulted in the destruction of around half of the roughly 200 houses in the village.

Other villages in the area, such as Chaung Thar and Lay Dwin Sin, also suffered significant property losses, according to local resistance sources.

Although the regime forces responsible for these attacks have since left the area, another column of around 200 troops was seen heading towards Pa Zi Gyi late last week, according to the Kanbalu District PDF officer.

The column was spotted about 20km west of the village on the morning of April 5, he said. No further information was available at the time of reporting.

The attack on Pa Zi Gyi was the deadliest carried out by Myanmar’s military since it seized power in February 2021 and was met with widespread international condemnation.

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