Myanmar government troops burned a village in a suspected attempt to quell opposition to the ruling junta, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.
The junta that overthrew the elected government on Feb. 1 has responded to opposition with violence in a reported attempt to stop a developing insurrection, according to the AP. However, the increased violence seems to have fueled civilian resistance to the junta that emerged from the coup.
Military officials burned the Kinma village in Myanmar’s Magway region that was home to around 1,000 people, the AP reported. A villager told the AP that the fire destroyed 227 houses, leaving behind only 10 structures.
The villager said most of the residents left before junta soldiers opened fire on Tuesday, according to the AP. The villager asked the AP not to identify him for fear of government retaliation.
“There are some forests just nearby our village. Most of us fled into the forests,” the villager told the AP.
“Two elderly civilians died on Tuesday after Myanmar junta troops set a village on fire in Magwe Region’s Pauk Township….Military regime forces torched homes in Kin Ma village…after taking a large number of casualties during a firefight” nearby. https://t.co/iB9faEbYrh pic.twitter.com/qHM5lJkKao
— Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth) June 16, 2021
Troops were likely searching for village defense force members who protect the community from the junta and law enforcement officials, the villager told the AP. The force notified residents of the junta’s visit so they were able to get away, leaving a few people behind while the troops searched homes.
The troops set homes on fire after their search turned up empty, according to the AP. The villager said he heard of three casualties including a goat-herding boy who was shot in the leg and an elderly couple that other outlets reported as missing. (RELATED: Security Forces Raid Homes Of Workers On Strike In Myanmar)
The community won’t return to the village, he told the AP. “No, we dare not to. We think it isn’t over. We will shift to other villages. Even if we go back to our village, there is no place to stay because everything is burnt,” the villager said.
Some of the defense force members are working with ethnic minority groups in the region to form an opposition army, the AP reported. The Kinma attack occurred in a region where the country’s power-holding majority, the Barmar ethnic group, is located, though the group isn’t usually targeted so severely.
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