An estimated 70 houses were burnt down during a military raid on Pati village in Pauk township on the evening of April 19, according to local sources. Soldiers are said to have entered the village mounted on 16 motorbikes before carrying out the arson attacks.
A local told DVB that villagers had “no place to run to” after soldiers entered the Pati from all sides. Those displaced are said to be living in makeshift tents outside the village or in nearby forest.
Another resident of said that 70 of Pati’s 100 homes had been affected, although fires were later extinguished by villagers and PDF members.
“Our villagers often live in the forest. Sometimes we return to the village briefly to check on our livestock. Our villagers are mainly farmers. There are people that cannot build a house even after saving money for 15 years.”
The leader of the local Youth Revolutionary Front (YRF) resistance group, Major Na Pauk, said that many villages in Pauk township had now been torched by the military, and that people’s livelihoods were at risk.
During the attack, the army is reported to have torched basic supplies belonging to the villagers, like stores of rice and clothing.
Other reports suggest that the military recently committed arson attacks in Pauk’s Kinma and Chaungzon villages, destroying an estimated 100 homes.
Since Burma’s military coup, more than 18,000 locals have been internally displaced by fires set by troops in the south of the township, with nearly 1,000 homes burning down, according to sources in Pauk.
Data for Myanmar, which tracks violence committed by the military, on April 13 said that a total of 1,814 homes had been destroyed in fires across Magway Region.