Myanmar’s military has torched more than 100 homes in a Mandalay region village as it continues to target civilians thought to be harboring People’s Defense Forces.
Tuesday’s raid happened after anti-junta militias attacked troops leaving a monastery they had been stationed at, in Madaya township’s Kin village, locals told RFA on condition of anonymity.
One resident said reprisals started after local People’s Defense Forces triggered land mines as the column of around 50 troops moved out.
”The troops set fire to the village non-stop from 9 a.m. until the evening,” the local said Wednesday.
“Over a hundred houses were burnt down. The junta troops left early this morning.”
The local defense groups said they killed five soldiers and wounded 12 with landmines and bombs dropped from drones
Combined fighters from Mahar Revolution Force; Tike Thane Underground Revolutionary Group; Nat Soe Underground Revolutionary Army; Nagar Nyi Naung People Defense Force; and Daung Sit The said they took part in the attack on the junta column.
RFA has not been able to independently confirm the number of soldiers killed and injured.
Calls to the junta spokesperson for Mandalay region, Thein Htay, went unanswered.
Junta Deputy Information Minister Major Gen. Zaw Min Tun has told RFA in the past troops never set fire to civilian homes. However, he said Tuesday the junta was behind another attack that day in which as many as 100 civilians were killed in an air strike on a Sagaing region village. He blamed local People’s Defense Forces for hiding among civilians in that attack, saying the junta only targeted combatants.
The junta’s slash and burn tactics are widespread across Myanmar and locals said the military torched nine villages in Madaya township last month, forcing locals to flee to other villages and makeshift camps.
According to Data for Myanmar, which monitors arson attacks, a total of 60,459 homes have been destroyed by fire across the country in the two years following the February 2021 coup.
Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Mike Firn.