Junta troops kill 9-year-old boy fleeing Sagaing region village

By RFA Burmese

A nine-year-old boy was shot dead by junta troops as he tried to escape a village in Sagaing region with his family, locals told RFA.

Troops raided Wea Daunt in Mawlaik township Thursday after reports a People’s Defense Force (PDF) militia had occupied the village.

A resident, who did not want to be named for security reasons, said that a junta column of nearly 80 soldiers opened fire on civilians who were trying to escape ahead of the raid.

“The child who was killed was called Khant Pyoe Thu. His family did not go far, but fled to the forest next to the village. The army arbitrarily opened fire with heavy artillery and live rounds, and the child was shot dead,” the local said.

He said the boy was hit by four bullets and died on the spot. He was buried on Thursday night.

Calls to Aye Hlaing, the junta spokesman and social affairs minister for Sagaing region, seeking comment on the incident went unanswered.

The more than 900 people who live in Wea Daunt have not yet returned because troops are still stationed in the village.

Troops have not set fire to the village’s 300 houses but they have been carrying out an arson campaign in Mawlaik township as they try to flush out local PDFs.

Aid workers say nearly 500 houses in 13 villages in the township have been torched -- forcing around 15,000 locals to flee their homes -- in the 22 months since the military seized power in a February, 2021 coup.

Data for Myanmar said on Dec. 10 that 27,496 houses had been burned down by junta troops and affiliated militias in Sagaing region between Feb. 1, 2021 and Nov. 30, 2022.

That has led to more than 600,000 people in the region becoming internally displaced persons (IDPs) according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Translated by RFA Burmese. Written in English by Mike Firn.