Myanmar Junta Reportedly Burns Down Entire Village Hunting For Dissidents
On June 14th, the Myanmar security forces allegedly burned down a village.
The incident took place after clashes with opposition, leaving at least two elderly people burned to death, according to several people who lived in the village.
News of the violence allegedly committed by the military came as protests against the February 1 coup continued, with dozens of protesters in motorcycles holding a dawn strike in Kachin State and hundreds of people marching in Hpakant Township in Sagaing Region, as well as in Dawei in Tanintharyi Region.
MRTV state television said the blaze at Kin Ma, a village of about 800 people in the Magway Region, was caused by “terrorists” and that media who reported otherwise were “deliberately plotting to discredit the military”.
All that remained of Kin Ma was about 30 houses, with some 200 homes reduced to piles of ash and bricks, according to several villagers who spoke to Reuters and sent photographs.
An unidentified person living in the village said he believed the troops were searching for members of a village defense force that had been established to protect against the junta’s troops and police. Most such local forces are very lightly armed with homemade hunting rifles.
The village defense force warned residents before the troops arrived, so only four or five people were left in the village when they began searching houses in the afternoon. When they found nothing, they began setting the homes on fire, he said.
“There are some forests just nearby our village. Most of us fled into the forests,” he said.
The villager said he believed there were three casualties, a boy who was a goat herder who was shot in the thigh, and an elderly couple who were unable to flee. He believed the couple had died but several media reports said they were missing.
MRTV said 40 “terrorists” torched a house in Kin Ma, starting a fire that spread to 100 of the village’s 225 homes.
Fire razes a Myanmar village, killing four elderly people. Residents of Kin Ma village in central Myanmar’s Magway region told RFA that military forces set the fire. pic.twitter.com/99sxfsBzoR
— Radio Free Asia (@RadioFreeAsia) June 16, 2021
“Reports that the junta has burned down an entire village in Magway, killing elderly residents, demonstrate once again that the military continues to commit terrible crimes and has no regard for the people of Myanmar,” the United Kingdom’s embassy in Myanmar said on Twitter, quoting its ambassador Dan Chugg.
— Kyaw Zayar Lin (@kzy_linn) June 17, 2021
The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a human rights group, says security forces have killed some 865 civilians since the coup, although the military disputes the figure.
The army burned many villages of the Muslim Rohingya minority in 2017 in a brutal counterinsurgency campaign in the western state of Rakhine that drove more than 700,000 to seek safety across the border in Bangladesh.
There is widespread prejudice against the Rohingya and few in Myanmar protested the army’s treatment of them.
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