Tuesday’s fire in Kin Ma, a village of about 800 people, left about 200 houses reduced to piles of ash and bricks.
According to several people living in the village, the military set fire to a village in central Myanmar after a clash with opponents and burned at least two elderly people.
News of the violence allegedly committed by the military came as protests against the February 1 coup continued, with dozens of protesters on motorcycles staging a dawn strike in the state of Kachin and hundreds of people marched in Hpakant Township, Sagaing Region, as well as Dawei, on Thursday in Tanintharyi Region.
MRTV state television said Tuesday’s fire in Kin Ma, a town of about 800 people in the Magway region, was caused by “terrorists” and that the media reported otherwise “were deliberately plotting to discredit the military. “
The Reuters news agency was unable to independently verify the cause of the fire. A military spokesman did not respond to calls for comment.
Kin Ma was left with only about 30 houses on Wednesday, with about 200 houses reduced to piles of ash and bricks, according to several villagers who reported the incident over the phone and photos seen by Reuters.
The fire was large enough to be recorded by NASA’s satellite fire tracking system at 21:52 (15:22 GMT) on Tuesday.
Residents, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said security forces caught fire after facing opponents in the coup and that at least two people were killed.
A 32-year-old volunteer attending the village’s displaced people said the two dead were elderly residents who had not been able to escape their homes during the fire. He said some people returned to the village on Wednesday and found the bodies.
Most villagers remained hiding in nearby forests, villagers told Reuters.
MRTV said 40 “terrorists” set fire to a house in Kin Ma, causing a fire that spread to 100 of the village’s 225 houses.
Myanmar has been gripped by violence and protests since army chief Min Aung Hlaing arrested elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and seized power for the military. The generals had ruled the Southeast Asian nation with an iron fist for most of the post-independence years before ceding some powers to a civilian government during a decade of attempted political reform.
The fire ravaged a village in Myanmar and killed four elderly people. Residents of the village of Kin Ma, in the Magway region of central Myanmar, told FRG that military forces were on fire. pic.twitter.com/99sxfsBzoR
– Radio Free Asia (@RadioFreeAsia) June 16, 2021
Photographs and videos taken of the aftermath of the fire at Kin Ma showed a fine haze of smoke over the village from white embers that formed on blackened earth.
There were scattered wooden planks, sheet metal, burnt bricks and cookware, and only a few trees remained standing. Some images showed animal carcasses.
“Reports that the board has burned an entire village in Magway, killing elderly residents, show once again that the army continues to commit terrible crimes and has no respect for the people of Myanmar,” the embassy said on Twitter. from the United Kingdom to Myanmar, citing its ambassador Dan Chugg.
Human rights groups have accused Myanmar forces of burning hundreds of villages in 2017 during an offensive that led to hundreds of thousands of predominantly Muslim Rohingya in neighboring Bangladesh.
– Kyaw Zayar Lin (@kzy_linn) June 17, 2021
Security forces denied having set fire and in some cases blamed the flames on Rohingya.
The Western condemnation of the military government has grown because of the use of force by the military against its opponents.
The Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners, a human rights group, says security forces have killed about 865 civilians since the coup, although the military disputes the figure.