Myanmar village burned after clashes, villagers blame military for setting fire

The Myanmar military set a village on fire after clashes with opponents leaving at least four elderly people burned to death, according to several people who lived in the village.

Dozens of protesters in motorcycles continued their agitation against the February 1 coup in Kachin State and hundreds of people marched in Hpakant Township in Sagaing Region, as well as in Dawei in Tanintharyi Region on Thursday.

State media said the blaze on Tuesday at Kin Ma, a village of about 800 people in the Magway Region, was caused by “terrorists” and that media who reported otherwise were “deliberately plotting to discredit the military”.

All that remained of Kin Ma on Wednesday was about 30 houses, with some 200 homes reduced to piles of ash and bricks, according to several villagers who gave accounts to Reuters.

The blaze was large enough to be recorded by NASA’s satellite fire-tracking system at 9:52pm on Tuesday.

The villagers said that security forces set the fires after confronting opponents of the coup and that at least two people were killed.

A 32-year-old volunteer assisting people displaced from the village said the two dead were elderly residents who had been unable to escape their home during the fire. He said some people returned to the village on Wednesday and found the bodies.

Most of the village’s residents remained in hiding in nearby forests.

MRTV said 40 “terrorists” torched a house in Kin Ma, starting a fire that spread to 100 of the village’s 225 homes.

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.