More houses torched as junta troops leave Loikaw village

Residents of Kunnar said soldiers also burned down a number of houses when they took control of the village last week

Regime forces occupying the village of Kunnar in Kayah (Karenni) State’s Loikaw Township set fire to 19 houses before retreating on Monday, according to local residents and resistance sources.

A member of the anti-regime Karenni Nationalities Defence Force (KNDF) told Myanmar Now that the soldiers, who took control of the village late last week, started the fires at around 8am on Monday.

“We were at the edge of the village and they were on the main road in the middle of the village. They torched the houses while retreating. They also fired shots into the village before starting the fires,” he said.

The incident comes days after regime forces were accused of deliberately burning down houses in Kunnar and another village in the area on Friday.

There were also reports that more fires had been set on Sunday, but this could not be confirmed.

According to the KNDF member, there were around 130 troops stationed in Kunnar over the weekend. He added that there had been no new clashes since fighting broke out twice last week, on Monday and Thursday.

The junta troops were also accused of stealing food from more than 50 houses and destroying furniture, appliances and other property as they made their way out of the village.

“There were soldiers in the village for two or three days, but they started to leave this morning. First, however, they torched seven houses—nice, big houses,” said Reh, a Kunnar resident who fled the village amid last week’s clashes.

In a statement, the KNDF said that a total of 19 houses were destroyed on Monday.

The Karenni Civil Society Network reported on Friday that more than 150,000 civilians have been displaced by conflict in Kayah State and southern Shan State’s Pekhon Township since late May.

The group added that at least 400 buildings, including houses and churches, had been destroyed as of December 7.

Myanmar Now News