Hundreds flee military arson attacks in Mandalay’s Madaya Township

A junta column raids villages more than 10 miles from the site of clashes with resistance forces, causing the number of IDPs to ‘only increase’

Three hundred civilians fled their homes after junta forces carried out a series of raids in northeastern Madaya Township, Mandalay Region, on Monday evening, destroying residences in three villages.

The military column in question first raided the 50-household Hmaw Ni Kone at 4pm, torching eight houses and a building in a monastery compound that held supplies and a vehicle for a local charity group. They also stole five motorbikes from abandoned homes, according to a local man who spoke to Myanmar Now on Tuesday morning.

“I think they came into the village hoping to find anti-junta forces,” he said. “Everyone had to flee in a state of panic and the military ransacked and torched not only the houses but also the car and the garage of the village’s social welfare group.”

Hmaw Ni Kone is located around 12 miles from sites of ongoing battles between resistance forces such as the Mandalay People’s Defence Force (PDF) and the military in eastern Madaya, particularly around the village of Kin, where fighting began in mid-November.

The soldiers who attacked the village proceeded to raid neighbouring Nyaung Bingyi Taw and Kyauk Thalake, setting fire to an unconfirmed number of homes in both communities.

On Sunday morning, the military fired heavy artillery at the Madaya villages of Seik Thar and Shar Say Chet, injuring five civilians, including two children, and killing several livestock. Seik Thar was again shelled on Monday evening, damaging the school, according to locals.

A junta unit stationed in the village of Zee Phyu Kone also fired artillery shells at Wun Su village, west of the Mandalay-Mogok highway, at 10pm on Monday, destroying one house and injuring the couple that lived there, said a woman from Madaya involved in providing support to internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the area.

“The IDPs from Hmaw Ni Kone cannot go back home anymore as the military torched their houses,” she explained. “Our groups, as well as locals, are helping in every way that we can, but it’s difficult as the number of IDPs is only increasing.”

A coalition of resistance forces, including the Madaya and Patheingyi PDFs and Generation Z Power, attacked two junta bases on the Ayeyarwady River in western Madaya in late November, leading to intense clashes. A two-year-old child was killed by a heavy artillery shell during the episode of fighting. 

Myanmar Now News