Local media and residents said Myanmar’s troops set hundreds of buildings on fire during a three-day raid in the country’s north as the military struggles to crush resistance to its regime.
The Sagging area has seen fierce fighting and bloody retaliation since last year’s coup, with members of the local “People’s Defense Force” (PDF) regularly clashing with junta soldiers.
Analysts say the informal militia has surprised junta forces with their effectiveness, and the army has on several occasions conducted air strikes to support its troops on the ground.
Locals and media reports said soldiers torched hundreds of buildings in the villages of Qin, Upper Qin and Ke Taung over three days last week.
One resident, requesting anonymity, said that on May 26, Kin’s villagers fled as soon as the troops arrived and opened fire in the air.
“The next morning we saw smoke rising from our village before they left.
“More than 200 houses burnt down… My house completely burnt down, only the concrete foundation is left.”
Drone footage purported to show results obtained by AFP showed pillars of smoke rising in the sky from villages, which are located about eight kilometers from the Chindwin river.
The one seen in the video matches the geographical location of one in Taung village of a health clinic.
AFP Digital Verification reporters confirmed the footage had not appeared online before last week, but could not independently verify reports from the area.
Soldiers “raided and destroyed our homes”, said Ke Taung villager Ai Tin, who requested the use of a pseudonym.
“And they also burned the motor boats that we use to transport and carry food to our village, including my boat.
“My life is ruined, because I have lost my home … and I have nothing left to live for.”
Satellite images from the US space agency NASA showed fires in locations matching last week’s Taung and Qin villages.
The Junta has previously claimed that its troops have set houses on fire, accusing “terrorist” PDF fighters of setting them on fire.
In a speech on Tuesday, junta chief Min Aung Huling said “attempts were made to minimize casualties as much as possible in retribution for terrorist acts.”
“Now, the country is at peace,” he said, according to Myanmar’s official newspaper Global New Light.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)