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Nearly 90,000 homes destroyed in arson attacks since 2021 coup; Over three million displaced nationwide

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

Nearly 90,000 homes destroyed in arson attacks since 2021 coup

Data for Myanmar has documented that 88,373 homes were destroyed in arson attacks carried out by the Burma Army between February 2021 and April 2024. At least 3,960 houses were burned down in April. This number includes 1,500 in Buthidaung Township of Arakan State, 1,220 in Mandalay, 997 in Sagaing and 229 in Magway regions.

Mandalay’s Myingyan Township residents claimed that more than 300 homes were destroyed by arson last month and all displaced people are in need of urgent assistance. “The military burned down the homes while they were conducting offensives in the western part of the township [as well as] Myaung Township in Sagaing Region,” said a Myingyan resident.

The Burma Army launched an offensive and burned down family homes in Myingyan starting from the third week of April. Arson attacks in Burma peaked in March 2023, with more than 10,000 houses burned down in that month alone, stated Data for Myanmar.

Shan armed group says no dialogue with regime

The Shan State Progress Party (SSPP/SSA) claimed on Friday that there is no pathway to political talks in Burma and armed struggle is the only way to achieve federal democracy. Sao Khun Seng, the vice-chair of the SSPP, said that there is no way to hold dialogue with the military regime.

“It has been 77 years since we participated in political discussions during the signing of the Panglong Agreement. But successive military regimes did not comply with the points signed in the agreement and brought ruin to ethnic minorities,” he said.

The SSPP headquarters is located in Kehsi (Kyethi) Township of Wan Hai, northern Shan State. It signed a ceasefire agreement and engaged in peace talks with former President Thein Sein’s Union Solidarity Development Party (USDP) government in January 2012.

Residents displaced from their homes in Sagaing’s Salingyi Township line up to receive food in April. (Credit: Anyar Pyitt TieHtaung)

Over three million displaced nationwide

The U.N. has documented that there are now more than three million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Burma due to armed conflict. The number of IDPs in the country has increased by 50 percent since the Brotherhood Alliance launched Operation 1027 on Oct. 27, 2023. 

“Myanmar stands at the precipice in 2024 with a deepening humanitarian crisis that has spiraled since the military takeover in February 2021 and the consequent conflicts in many parts of the country, driving record numbers of people to abandon their homes seeking safety,” stated the U.N. 

Over 2.7 million have been displaced from their homes to become IDPs in Burma since the 2021 military coup. One-third of the IDPs are reportedly children. At least 18.6 million people in the country are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, added the U.N. 

News by Region

ARAKAN—The Arakan Army (AA) stated on Monday that a deputy commander of the Military Operations Command (MOC) 15, as well as hundreds of Burma Army soldiers, surrendered after it captured the headquarters in Buthidaung Township on May 3. It had been attacking the base since April. 

“It will be easy to seize Buthidaung as the MOC 15 was captured. Military regime troops and Muslims are currently fighting together, so the AA has to proceed cautiously. The town is deserted, with houses burned down,” a Buthidaung resident told DVB. The AA also claimed that it had captured two Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) bases on May 3. 

BAGO—A one-year-old girl was killed by a tree and 15 houses were damaged during a storm in Minhla and Shwe Taung townships on May 4. “Trees and power poles fell down,” a Bago resident told DVB. “Even though the admins are collecting a list of damaged houses, we don’t expect any help. We are going to repair or clean the houses by ourselves,” said another resident. 

CHINLAND—Kanpetlet Township residents said that fighting between the Burma Army and resistance forces has been taking place outside of Kyindwe since May 1. Chin forces seized control of the town on April 29. 

“We also heard there will be more reinforcements from Laungshay in Magway but they have not yet come. They [military] have been continuously conducting airstrikes,” said an anonymous source close to Chinland Defense Force (CDF). More than 3,500 Kyindwe residents have been displaced from their homes since fighting began on Dec. 22. 

SHAN—The Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA/PSLF) stated on May 2 that a number of troops caught drinking Myanmar Beer were sentenced to ten lashes and hard labor. The beer is produced by Myanmar Brewery, owned by the military conglomerate Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited (MEHL). 

Photos of TNLA soldiers drinking Myanmar Beer during a birthday party were shared online last month. The TNLA added that the troops will be made to clean public hospitals and monasteries as a part of their sentence. All military-owned products were banned from TNLA-controlled areas in June 2021. It has vowed to punish anyone violating this directive.  

DVB Newsroom features Jane M. Ferguson on a social history of Burmese cinema. DVB English News is on X, FB, IG, Threads & TikTok. Subscribe on YouTube & YouTube Music.

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