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27 charred bodies discovered in Sagaing after Myanmar junta’s latest arson attack

Villagers found 27 charred bodies inside burnt homes yesterday in northwestern Myanmar’s Sagaing region, where the ruling military junta has for months conducted an arson campaign targeting rural villages, burning hundreds of homes, and leaving thousands displaced. 

The villagers told RFA that the bodies were found in the Mon Dai Pin and Inbin villages of Ye Oo township. While there was no fighting in their area, the villagers said, soldiers arrived during a military operation and spent a night in the village. 

“Most of the villagers fled to safety, [but] some were unable to escape,” one villager said. RFA has not been able to confirm the incident and attempts to contact junta spokesperson Maj. Gen. Zaw Min Tun went unanswered. 

A military column from nearby Taze township raided Mon Dai Pin on May 9 and set fire to about 30 houses, villagers said. 

In addition to the charred bodies, villagers said three monks from the village monastery were taken away by the military. Of the 27 bodies, 17 were found in Mon Dai Pin and the other 10 were found in Inbin. 

Some of the bodies were found on the street, and villagers said some of them had gunshot wounds. The victims were identified as local residents in their 40s.

The villagers said that since the fire has not fully died down, they could not search all the homes.

RFA previously reported on the junta’s burning of 500 homes in Sagaing in only three days, with the military cutting off internet access in 27 of the region’s 37 townships in early March. The information blackout has left villagers in the dark about the campaign as the military moves from village to village in a crackdown on opponents of its Feb. 1, 2021 coup. 

Soldiers had destroyed around 200 and 70 homes in Mingin’s Thanbauk and Zinkale villages, respectively, on April 25, some 220 homes in Khin Oo’s Thanboh village the following day, and an unconfirmed number of homes in Shwebo’s Malar and Makhauk villages on the evening of April 27, RFA’s investigation found.