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Radio Free Asia

More than 1,000 people flee their homes in Sagaing region

Locals left 3 villages as Myanmar's junta continues a scorched-earth campaign in Tigyaing township

By RFA Burmese 2022.12.07 -- More than 1,000 people from three villages in Sagaing region's Tigyaing township fled their homes on Wednesday, as the junta continued its campaign of arson attacks.

Residents of Me Zar Lay and Kan Pauk abandoned their villages after troops stormed and burned neighboring Aung Thar Kone.

"The junta troops got into Aung Thar Kone around 8 a.m. so the residents had to flee and watch the village burn from a distance. I don't know how much it burned," a local told RFA on condition of anonymity for safety reasons.

"Now in the middle of the day, troops are getting into Me Zar Lay and Kan Pauk. They have not torched Kan Pauk village yet. These are places where there is no fighting, but the junta troops still occupy the villages."

Troops had already burned down 40 houses after storming two other villages on Tuesday, according to locals.

They said junta troops have been carrying out a scorched-earth operation in Tigyaing township since November, forcing more than 10,000 residents of nearly 20 villages to flee.

On Sunday, the township's people's administrative group announced that 437 houses in seven villages were destroyed by fire between Nov. 25 and Dec. 3.

RFA phoned Sagaing region's junta spokesman Aye Hlaing on Wednesday to get his comments on the military campaign but the calls went unanswered.

According to a United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs report released on Dec. 3, some 61,6500 people have fled their homes in Sagaing region due to fighting and insecurity since the military deposed Myanmar's democratically elected government in a Feb. 1, 2021 coup.

The region accounts for 70% of the nearly 39,000 buildings destroyed by fire across the country since the military took power, according to Institute for Strategy and Policy data covering the first 21 months since the coup.

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