Civilian infrastructure and food supplies destroyed in Myanmar military arson attacks

March 21st, 2023  •  Author:   Myanmar Witness  •  2 minute read
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SAC operations in East Tabayin township, Sagaing region

Report Published: 21 Mar 2023

Key Event Details

  • Location of Incident:

  • Nyaung Hla village (ညောင်လှရွာ), Tabayin township (ဒီပဲယင်းမြို့နယ်), Sagaing region (စစ်ကိုင်းတိုင်းဒေသကြီး), [22.65276909, 95.41811371].

  • Date/Time of Incident:

  • Multiple events between 23-28 January 2023.

  • Alleged Perpetrator(s) and/or Involvement:

  • State Administration Council (SAC) forces

  • A 17 January 2023 announcement from the National Unity Government (NUG) alleges the LIB 364 and LIB 701 (under direction of the LID 77) were responsible.

  • Summary of Investigation:

  • SAC forces allegedly entered villages in Tabayin township, setting at least 10 villages on fire. Fires were identified and verified in seven villages between 23-28 January 2023.

  • Almost the entirety of Nyaung Hla village was levelled by the fires, resulting in damage and destruction to up to 402 houses.

  • Food supplies – including a rice mill, multiple rice storage facilities, and farm animals – were reportedly damaged, destroyed or killed during the fires in Nyaung Hla and Ma Ya Kan (မရကန် ) villages.

  • Based on the analysis of identified open source user-generated content (UGC), it is likely that the SAC forces who were active in the area were responsible for these fires.

Summary

On 23 January 2023, SAC forces reportedly entered several villages located at the border of Ye-U (ရေဦး) and Tabayin (ဒီပဲယင်း) townships, and set at least 10 villages alight. On 24 January 2023, sources including Khit Thit News and Radio Free Asia reported that SAC forces burned Nyaung Hla (ညောင်လှ) village, which was home to over 900 households, for the third time since January 2022. The fire resulted in the damage and destruction of hundreds of civilian homes, rice paddies, and a rice mill. Farm animals and an elderly woman were also reportedly killed.

Myanmar Witness has verified and chronolocated the fires in seven out of the reported 10 villages (table 1). Additionally, Myanmar Witness has geolocated additional footage in Nyaung Hla village, where an estimated 402 houses were affected, and verified the destruction of a rice mill. Reports also indicate the damage and destruction of food supplies such as rice paddies and farm animals in some of the affected villages.

Myanmar Witness has identified content indicating the presence of SAC troops during and/or before the fires in and around the affected areas.

Figure 1: Map of verified fires in seven of the alleged ten villages in Tabayin Township, Sagaing Region. Hyperlinks available in PDF version.


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