Sagaing Villagers Pay Myanmar Junta Troops to Spare Homes

Inn Ma village in Chaung-U Township was torched in April. / Chaung-U Revolution 

By The Irrawaddy 13 June 2022

Civilians in Chaung-U Township, Sagaing Region, reportedly paid Myanmar regime troops not to burn down their village on Saturday.

Around 100 soldiers raided Ba Lway village in the southeast of the township and detained numerous villagers and threatened to burn down the village.

“The soldiers said they had an order to burn the village unless residents paid. Residents collected all the cash they could find,” said a witness.

The soldiers reportedly torched four houses to comply with their orders.

Ba Lway had about 600 houses.

A Chaung-U Revolution Army commander said: “Other troops will probably burn the village later. Soldiers loot villages during their raids. We heard the junta wants Sagaing Region to be a wasteland.”

Residents said troops looted valuables, phones, food and crops. A woman in her 60s died of a heart attack during an artillery attack before the raid and a three-year-old was shot in the thigh.

The troops took 43 male villagers hostage while they advanced on Makyitan village, about 6km away, and they were then released.

In Makyitan 15 out of 37 houses were torched. Raids reportedly continue in the west of the township.

Chaung-U is a resistance stronghold.

Data for Myanmar, an independent group monitoring junta atrocities, reported on June 3 that an estimated 18,886 houses and other buildings had been burned down since the 2021 coup. Sagaing has suffered the most, losing an estimated 13,840 houses.