At least ten villagers have been killed after the military raided Sagaing’s Kanbalu township’s Kyisu village, according to the local sources. Almost all Muslim homes in the village are said to have been destroyed by the military’s arson attacks during the raid.
Kyisu village had previously been targeted by military air raids on July 18, forcing all of its inhabitants to flee.
“All the villagers fled when the military started shooting. A religious teacher was shot during the raid. Houses pointed out by military informants were set on fire. Many other villagers were arrested and taken to a monastery. Some were then released, except for those accused of being PDF members,” a local told DVB.
Locals speculated that between 10 to 13 detainees were killed, but DVB has yet to confirmed this information as villagers are yet to return and cuts to local communication networks are limiting information flows.
An unconfirmed report has circulated that a religious school was torched in the village, which hosts two mosques and two religious schools. After the incident, locals suggested that attacks were purposefully aimed towards Kyisu’s Muslim community.
“The village has many Muslims and they were targeted more. No such thing has occurred in nearby villages. There are about 800 Muslim houses and 200 Buddhist homes in this village. The situation was already precarious since the time of Ma Ba Tha (a group of Buddhist nationalist monks), but it is even worse since the military seized power. Buddhist households have been gradually relocated since more than a month ago, leaving only a few tens of Buddhist homes in the village. The remaining households were also accused of being home to military informants. Now they [alleged informants] pointed out the houses to be torched. Most of the Muslim houses and Buddhist houses are on separate roads. As a result, most of the houses that are being burnt are Muslim homes. I think it has now become connected with politics and religion,” the local source added.
Villagers claimed that the military, informants, and Pyusawhti militiamen stole vehicles and valuables while locals fled, burning down homes in the village on July 19.
Kyisu’s residents have fled to nearby jungle cover.