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06/06/2022 Myanmar (International Christian Concern) – Thousands of villagers, including many Christians from Myanmar’s central regions, are living in fear as the military junta continues torching hundreds of homes. 

At least 320 out of an estimated 350 households were burned down during a military raid on the historically Catholic village of Chaung Yoe in the Sagaing region on May 20, according to local sources. 

Christian villages in the Sagaing region, the heartland of the ethnic Bamar people who live primarily in the Irrawaddy River basin, remain the main targets for junta troops due to growing resistance to military rule by people’s defense forces (PDFs). 

Soldiers keep raiding villages and destroying homes as part of a strategy to crush PDFs in the region. They torched hundreds of homes in Kinn, Upper Kinn, and Ke Taung villages during a three-day raid last week. 

Drone footage purportedly of the aftermath showed columns of smoke rising into the sky from the villages, set along a roughly eight-kilometer stretch of the Chindwin River, according to a report. 

The junta’s offensive in the Sagaing region continues with artillery shelling, airstrikes, and the burning of houses in several villages. Mobile phones and internet lines were cut off in some townships. 

Hundreds of people in a historic Catholic village in this western region have temporarily fled into towns for safety. Villagers hear gunfire daily, according to sources who said the fear of being raided by the junta had caused hundreds of them to flee to safe areas. 

For the first time, the number of displaced people in Myanmar has exceeded one million, including almost 700,000 people displaced by the post-coup conflict that erupted last February, according to the latest report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. 

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