More than 20,000 villagers have fled their homes amid Myanmar junta raids on 16 villages near regime-owned factories in Seikphyu Township, Magwe Region, since September 15. Around 59 houses have reportedly been torched in raids.
Three groups of troops, including around 120 from Seikphyu, approximately 160 from Pakokku and about 150 from Htammakauk village, have been raiding the villages, according to residents.
The troops come from two ordnance factories and air-defense forces in Seikphyu, said the Northern Seikphyu People’s Defense Force (NSP).
An NSP information officer said: “As Seikphyu is dotted with oil wells, they make pre-emptive attacks on resistance forces. They fear Wazi [Security Print Works] and ordnance factories in the township will be harmed. They aim to destroy the resistance.”
A volunteer helping displaced people said: “Villagers could only flee to western Seikphyu. Around 20,000 villagers have fled. We accommodated them in schools and monasteries.”
Villagers fear junta troops will torture and kill them after claiming they support the resistance, he said.
Junta troops reportedly shot dead a 30-year-old man in Anauk Kanphyu village during a raid. In Pakokku Township, Magwe Region, 16 houses were burned down in Lay Taing village and 43 more were burned in Myit Pyar village by junta troops. A young man was detained over alleged ties to the resistance.
The NSP said it controls more than 15 villages along the Yaw River near the border with Pauk Township in northern Seikphyu. The group said it conducts guerilla warfare against junta troops and avoids frontal assaults.
Junta troops withdrew from Seikphyu on Thursday morning but villagers have not returned to their homes as troops are still reportedly deployed in Htammakauk village.