More than 6,000 civilians flee ahead of raids on Sagaing region villages

Locals say they ran for their lives as around 130 troops descended on their homes.
By RFA Burmese
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More than 6,000 civilians flee ahead of raids on Sagaing region villages Residents leave Thet Pay and Mu Thar villages in Khin-U township, Sagaing region on Feb. 1, 2023, ahead of junta raids
Khin-U Right Information Group

Myanmar’s junta forces continue to target townships in Sagaing region, forcing another 6,000 people to flee their homes ahead of advancing troops.

Soldiers descended on Khin-U Wednesday morning, a township already hit by indiscriminate arson attacks, locals told RFA.

“At around 4 a.m., a column with 30 soldiers entered Myin Daung village as scouts,” said a former resident who wished to remain anonymous. “Then 15 soldiers were added from Mu Tein Chaung. More than 90 troops from Ye-U township joined the column and entered Myin Daung.”

Locals say almost all the 2,600 people living in Myin Daung village fled on Monday ahead of the raids. They said they were too scared to stay, fearing they would be arrested and killed by the troops.

Earlier this month the junta declared martial law in Khin-U, along with 10 other townships in Sagaing region where it has struggled to win control from local pro-democracy militias.

Khin-U based People’s Defense Forces said the military column that entered Myin Daung on Wednesday was under the command of Infantry Battalions 364 and 701 but RFA has not been able to confirm this.

Calls to the junta spokesman for Sagaing region, Aye Hlaing, went unanswered for a second day.

Last December he told RFA he doesn't comment on the military situation but – as junta social affairs minister for the region -- he was compiling a district-level list of displaced people in order to provide them with food.

More than 3,700 houses in 63 villages in Khin-U township have been destroyed by arson attacks in the two years since the military toppled Myanmar’s democratically elected government.

According to a United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs report on Feb. 2, fighting since the coup has led to nearly 650,000 people being forced to abandon their homes and live in makeshift camps in Sagaing region.

Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Mike Firn.


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