Pregnant woman among three reported injured by naval attacks in Sagaing

Soldiers rode boats along the Chindwin river and fired guns and artillery at villages along its banks, residents said 

Junta soldiers injured three people, including a pregnant woman, and destroyed several houses during attacks on villages in Sagaing Region last week, locals told Myanmar Now.

Troops travelled down the Chindwin river on boats during a two day assault in Kani Township, coming ashore to fire guns and heavy artillery at villages sitting along the riverbank.

Locals said soldiers from nine military boats attacked the villages of Sar Pho Gyi, Nat Gyi, Yinyein, and Thit Khat on Friday and Saturday.

The pregnant woman, who is 30 years old, was shot in the leg trying to escape when soldiers fired guns at one village, said a Kani local who volunteered to help rescue those injured.

“The military started shooting at the shore. The pregnant lady got shot in the leg while trying to flee. She’s seven month pregnant now,” the volunteer said.

The volunteer and another local said a house and three motorcycles were burned down in the town of Kani, while two houses in Yinyein and a house from Thit Khet were hit with artillery shells.

There were also reports that two men were injured when soldiers came on land and rampaged through Nat Gyi on Saturday morning, and the village was hit with around 20 shells, the residents said.

The attacks were likely a response to ambushes by People’s Defence Force fighters against military boats, said a Kani-based political activist.

“There were some occasions where People’s Defence Force troops shot at the military vehicles from the shores of the Chindwin river. I think the military was trying to scare off the civilians on the shore,” he said.

Thousands of people living along the riverbank have fled their homes since the attacks and are in need of food, medicine, and shelter, the residents said.

The junta has not commented on the attacks.

Earlier this month villagers found the bodies of 15 men in Kani who appear to have been the victims of a military massacre after they were captured and tortured by soldiers.

Kani emerged as a hotspot for anti-coup protests after the military’s February power grab, and some of its residents have since taken up arms in response to murderous crackdowns by the junta.