Htei Hlaw residents return to find torched houses and burned body
The Magway Region village, which was occupied over the weekend, has been a target of army attacks since last month
Residents of Htei Hlaw, a village in Magway Region’s Gangaw Township that was occupied by junta troops over the weekend, said they returned to their homes on Monday to find burned houses and the charred remains of an unidentified body.
According to residents, soldiers raided the village late last Friday and stayed there until around 5pm on Sunday. Villagers who returned the following day discovered the body in one of nine houses that had been burned down.
“They left it in one of the torched houses. All the flesh had been burned off, leaving only bones,” said a Htei Hlaw villager who spoke to Myanmar Now on Monday.
Another villager said that in addition to destroying two brick houses and seven others made of wood, the troops also stole two vehicles parked at the village monastery.
Many houses were also looted, and several pigs left behind by the fleeing villagers were slaughtered and eaten by the occupying soldiers, he added.
According to both residents, young men who returned to the village on Saturday to put out fires set by the soldiers were forced to retreat after they came under fire.
They added, however, that the young villagers succeeded in extinguishing a number of blazes before retreating.
The Htei Hlaw residents said that the troops also shelled positions where fleeing villagers had taken shelter.
“They would start shelling early in the morning. They fired 5-10 shells at a time. But it was only in the morning,” said one of the villagers who spoke to Myanmar Now.
Htei Hlaw, located in the strategically important Yaw region of northern Magway, has come under repeated attacks by the military since last month.
On September 12, regime forces raided the village of roughly 1,000 inhabitants, torching 27 homes and killing a villager and a member of a local resistance group.
The conflict has displaced thousands of civilians in the area, which borders Sagaing Region and Chin State, where the military has also faced fierce resistance since seizing power in February.