The violence in the northwest region is the latest in a series of attacks by the military that also forced thousands to flee Chin State on Wednesday.
An unknown number of civilians were reportedly forced to flee their villages in Myanmar’s Sagaing region after security forces torched houses and opened fire on residents.
According to The Irrawaddy news site on Thursday – a day after the deaths of two police officers and their families – government troops burned down a village in Taze commune, northwest of Mandalay town.
A series of images posted to social media showed thick black smoke rising from a tree-lined area, identified by The Irrawaddy as the village of Kyikone. There were no immediate reports of victims of the violence.
Myanmar has been in turmoil since Aung San Suu Kyi’s party-led government was overthrown by the military in February, sparking a nationwide uprising that the military tried to crush.
The violence in Sagaing also comes just a day after thousands of people fled Chin state near the Indian border following fighting between anti-coup dissidents and the military.
Attacks on the military escalated after members of parliament ousted by the generals called for a “people’s defensive war” earlier this month.
One such clash occurred on September 18 when soldiers fought around 100 members of a local defense group after being “ambushed” in Thantlang, Chin, the military spokesman said Tuesday. Zaw Min Thun, without giving figures on the number of victims.
He added that 20 houses and a government building were destroyed in a fire after the clashes, without specifying the cause.
The Irrawaddy reported on Wednesday that thousands of residents fled their homes after the bombings on Saturday.
Residents began fleeing on Monday after soldiers “started shooting indiscriminately at the windows” of houses in the town, a resident who did not want to be named told AFP news agency.
“Almost everyone is gone,” he said, adding that he was taking refuge in a nearby village with some 500 others, and that several hundred had already headed for India.
Another resident said she traveled for three days with her elderly parents to reach India after soldiers shelled her home and fighting escalated in the city.
“I never thought of running away from my own house even after the army bombed it … but as things got worse … I finally had to flee,” she said. told AFP on condition of anonymity.
Burmese junta forces burnt down the village of Kyikone in Taze township, Sagaing region on Thursday after a married couple, police officers and their families were killed on Wednesday. All residents fled after junta forces opened fire.
Photo: CJ #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar pic.twitter.com/r9kAic9pza
– The Irrawaddy (Eng) (@IrrawaddyNews) September 23, 2021
Residents across the border in India’s Mizoram state say around 2,000 refugees have arrived from Chin since September 10. Some said they saw military planes drop bombs on targets in Chin.
A resident of Thingsai village told AFP through an interpreter that on September 10, villagers heard gunshots and shelling across the border. Another said villagers saw military planes drop bombs.
A refugee who crossed over on September 15 said he cycled for three days to Mizoram. “We are very scared after the bombing. We had to flee. Two of my children stayed behind to fight the army and protect our people, ”the man said, on condition of anonymity.
Videos and images released by the media showed buildings in Thantlang they said had been destroyed by the military and domestic animals roaming deserted streets.
In recent weeks, anti-coup fighters have attacked communication towers belonging to the Mytel army across the country, including in Chin.
The UN has warned that renewed fighting in the region is sending more people to flee to India, where they urgently need food and shelter.
In May, government forces used artillery to drive rebels out of the southern Chin town of Mindat, then cut off its water supply, according to a spokesperson for a local armed group.
More than 1,100 civilians have been killed and nearly 8,000 arrested since the coup, according to local observers.
The military defended its takeover by alleging massive fraud in the late 2020 elections that Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party won by landslide.