Myanmar’s regime has cut internet access across Sagaing Region where armed resistance to the junta is strong. It is also launching airstrikes and torching villages.
Residents said the internet was down across the sprawling region’s 34 townships other than four towns and cities, denying news about the fighting.
A Tabayin resident told The Irrawaddy that the internet was cut three days ago and he heard only Sagaing, Monywa, Kale and Shwebo had access.
Internet access was cut last September in Ayadaw, Yinmabin, Kani, Pale, Ye-U, Taze and Budalin townships in the region.
The regime carried out an estimated 19 air raids on the region between last July and mid-February, according to the Institute for Strategy and Policy in Myanmar.
There were clashes in 16 townships during that period and at least 140 civilians were killed by junta forces, the institute reported in February.
The junta has torched at least 6,158 civilian homes in the 13 months since the coup, mostly in areas with heavy anti-regime resistance.
Sagaing Region suffered nearly 60 percent of the damage, according to the independent Data for Myanmar research group.
Residents fear the lack of internet access will limit their ability to avoid junta raids and find shelter after being attacked.
“It is very difficult for the displaced, especially children and old people, to find safety if we don’t get the news,” said a Taze resident.
He said they had previously asked for donations on Facebook but now they are left on their own.
The regime uses airstrikes, artillery and allied Phyu Saw Htee militias to attack villages and burn houses.