Junta raids force more than 3,000 to flee villages in Myanmar’s Sagaing region

Locals warn that those displaced are in urgent need of food and shelter.
By RFA Burmese
Junta raids force more than 3,000 to flee villages in Myanmar’s Sagaing region Smoke is seen rising from Ywar Thit village, Khin-U township, Sagaing region after junta troops torched houses there on June 1, 2023.
Khin-U Right Information

Junta raids on villages in a township in Myanmar’s northern Sagaing region forced more than 3,000 people to flee their homes Thursday morning, locals told RFA.

They say a column of nearly 100 troops under the command of Shwebo Training Corps No. 8 entered Khin-U township’s Ywar Thit village at dawn, torching homes. Residents of Ywar Thit and four nearby villages fled, saying they didn’t even have time to bring any possessions.

“The column was stationed at Ye-U Hospital, and entered the Khin-U side this morning,” said a local who didn’t want to be named for fear of reprisals.

“We couldn’t even bring anything as the troops are still in the village and it is not yet known how many houses have been damaged. Smoke is still rising from the side of Ywar Thit village.”

Locals said many children, elderly and sick people are among those forced to flee and they urgently need food and shelter.

Khin-U township has fiercely resisted the junta since the military seized power in 2021 and troops have repeatedly raided and burned villages there.

According to the 2014 census, the township has a population of nearly 150,000, of which more than 92% live in rural areas.

RFA called Aye Hlaing, the junta social affairs minister and spokesperson for Sagaing region, on Thursday seeking comment on the latest raids but nobody answered.

More than 60,000 civilian buildings have been destroyed by fire across Myanmar since the Feb. 1, 2021 coup according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), as many as three quarters of which were in Sagaing region. Some 1.5 million people nationwide have been forced to flee their homes.

Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Mike Firn.


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