An elderly woman with limited mobility died in a fire started by junta troops after they triggered mines set out by resistance fighters
After incurring several casualties from resistance forces’ explosive devices, a military column torched a village in Ye-U Township, Sagaing Region, killing a 91-year-old woman who was unable to escape the fire.
At around 5am on Friday, the junta column, consisting of some 120 soldiers based in the town of Ye-U on the west bank of the Mu River, set off explosives laid by the local resistance teams near Hpein Kar village, three miles north of Ye-U.
The junta column then torched eight houses in Hpein Kar, and a 91-year-old woman named Thaung Kyi, unable to escape due to her age, died in the fire, according to a spokesperson of People’s Defence Comrade, a local defence team based in Ye-U Township.
“It wasn’t exactly a clash where we exchanged fire, so we still don’t know the exact number of casualties on their side. I think they must have suffered quite a number, as they started torching the nearby village immediately afterwards,” the spokesperson said.
A local man, who asked to remain anonymous, said a group of the village’s residents who had fled on Friday morning found Thaung Kyi’s body when they went back to clean the mess left by the military.
“The old lady could barely speak, let alone walk or run. Half of her body was burned. She was found inside her house after it was torched,” the local man said.
According to the local man, rather than set fires throughout the village, the military seemed to have selected which houses to burn based on where they believed resistance team members lived.
“The village doesn’t have a defence team of its own as it’s near the town, but there were some known resistance fighters there. They torched houses in three separate parts of the village. Nobody could go back to put out the fires as the entire population of western Ye-U Township had to flee. In a way, we were lucky only this much was destroyed and damaged,” the local man added.
The same military column also reportedly went on to raid nearby villages. According to local sources, junta troops arrived at Aung Thar Yar village, Ye-U Township, where pro-military Pyu Saw Htee militia forces are stationed, on Friday morning.
The military council has not issued any statements regarding these incidents.
The junta soldiers stationed in Ye-U township have carried out constant raids on nearby villages including Chan Thar, known for its large Catholic population, where they destroyed a high school building earlier this month.
Chan Thar also came under attack by the military repeatedly in 2022 and again in January 2023, at which time most of the village was destroyed, including the Assumption Church established in 1894.
Similarly, on May 9, a military airstrike damaged a high school run by the publicly mandated National Unity Government in Ye-U Township’s Htan Taw village, on a day when classes had coincidentally ended early and the local population only avoided fatalities by bare chance.