Residents of five villages in Sagaing region’s Depayin township fled their homes on Friday after troops seized control of two of the villages following a violent incident the day before.
Local sources said that around 180 soldiers arrived in the village of Thabyaygone in 13 military vehicles at around 1am on Friday and stationed themselves at a monastery and a primary school.
The soldiers urged those living there to remain calm and promised not to hurt them, but everyone decided to run anyway, according to one of the villagers.
“It was like a battlefield. We took our bags and our cows and ran away at four in the morning,” the man said, adding that all but eight of Thabyaygone’s 180 inhabitants had left the village.
According to one of those who stayed behind, the soldiers took over the empty houses soon after their owners fled. They also started looting items from a village store and demanded to be given a pig.
The sudden appearance of the soldiers came less than a day after a confrontation between local residents and police on a road between Thabyaygone and the nearby village of Ti Taw left two police officers dead and one injured.
Ti Taw also came under siege after 15 trucks arrived early Friday evening. When people living there tried to leave, some of the soldiers started firing their guns near the entrance to the village, one of its fleeing residents said.
They had to wait until nightfall before they could make their escape, the villager said.
“Some were holding their children, some their rice bags. We had to grab some clothes and other necessities. We didn’t even dare to hold flashlights. We only used motorbike lights sometimes along the way. We had to run for our lives,” he told Myanmar Now.
The village of some 600 homes is now completely deserted except for the soldiers stationed on its western side, he added.
The inhabitants of three other villages in the area—Oak Si, Thayet Kan, and Chaung Ni—have also abandoned their homes in fear that they could be targeted next.
According to the junta-controlled Ministry of Information, the murdered policemen were “terrorized” by around 100 people before they came under attack.
A third officer who survived the incident is being treated for seven knife wounds, the ministry said.
Original News – Myanmar NOW ( https://myanmar-now.org/en/news/were-about-80-there-crphs-foreign-minister-says-on-federal-union-talks )