Artillery price

The army fires heavy artillery at a camp for internally displaced people in northwest Myanmar

Twelve houses were burnt down at the weekend in a village near the site of a recent assault by resistance forces on a Myanmar army convoy passing through Htigyaing township in Sagaing region.

During the first three days of March, the Htigyaing section of the People’s Defense Forces (PDF) repeatedly attacked military vehicles along the Htigyaing-Indaw road, according to Daung Ni, a member of the anti-junta resistance group. .

He said the soldiers retaliated on Sunday morning by raiding the 200-person village of Thakhut Chaung, located on the road in question, a mile north of the town of Htigyaing.

“They broke into the houses and set fire to the rice sacks and oil bottles first,” Daung Ni told Myanmar Now.

“They burned down three houses first, then a whole row of houses,” he said, referring to the 12 houses on the edge of Thakhut Chaung.

No civilians were captured by the junta during the attack. Many residents, including the owners of the houses in question, had fled the village by the time the troops arrived after being warned by another resident.

PDF Htigyaing had identified villagers’ homes that had been destroyed, Daung Ni noted.

He said this area was a stronghold for the local defense forces, which tried to slow the advancing soldiers using guerrilla tactics, but were unable to sustain major battles.

“[The military] is attacked by resistance forces all the time near this area,” he explained. “We have very few weapons here. We only have explosive devices. We still have to run after attacking them with explosives because we can’t engage in combat.

Myanmar Now could not reach junta officials to comment on the burning of houses in Thakhut Chaung.

Data from Myanmar, which monitors abuses in the country, said that as of early March more than 6,150 homes had been torched by the junta since the military coup in February last year .

The Myanmar military’s practice of razing homes and villages, especially in ethnic states, has been well documented during the more than seven decades of civil war that preceded the coup.

The army denied any responsibility for these actions and blamed the resistance forces for any violence or destruction of property.

Army assaults on Htigyaing intensified in mid-January, with frequent battles breaking out with local guerrilla forces active in the area.

After a military airstrike and clash in the village of Marathein on January 13, five members of the Htigyaing PDF were captured by junta troops, forced to act as human shields, and then found killed a few days later.

The military council issued a statement claiming that they attacked the village because the PDF had set up a base at a local school; he did not mention the deaths of PDF members, nor the junta’s use of air power in the assault on Marathein.

While the junta said the resistance force destroyed the school, members of the PDF said it was Myanmar army troops who set it on fire.

Zaw Ye Thwe is a reporter with Myanmar Now