Villages in Sagaing Division are still being torched and NUG offers to provide security if the UN provide assistance  

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – October 07 Scenes
MoeMaKa, October 08 2022

Villages in Sagaing Division are still being torched and NUG offers to provide security if the UN provide assistance

In the Sagaing Division and the upper and northwestern parts of Magway Division, which are resisting the military council troops, it has been a year since the military council conducted the burning down of entire villages or targeted houses in villages suspected of having PDF members or supporting the PDF. The regions that were being torched were the villages in Gangaw District, like Hnan Khar Village and now, putting aside the names of the villages that were burned, even the names of the townships are so numerous that it is not easy to mention them. The number of houses being torched has reached tens of thousands and is gradually increasing.


The tactic of burning the houses in the villages of the people who oppose them is called the scorched-earth system, and it is thought to be the arbitrary punishment of people and villages that are considered enemies, causing them to lose their houses, food, and assets and deprive them of resources so they can’t support anti-military forces anymore. It is a more aggressive tactic than the tactic of cutting connections and 4-cuts, and for the suffering people, it is like making them have nothing left, no place to live, but only the land and human beings. As a result, in order to eat in the upcoming year, all agricultural work must be done starting from zero. In addition to the physical hardships of many families who were burnt to the ground, they will certainly suffer many psychological injuries that can even lead to death.


In the suppression of guerrilla warfare, which is the armed movement opposing the military council, they are arresting mercilessly, torturing, killing, and destroying houses until socio-economic life starts from zero. It is surprising for the central regions of Myanmar this time, but there are already similar examples in the long history and recent decades. There are many examples of what happened in Shan State, Karen State, Kachin State, Kayah State, and Rakhine State. It was a time when recording technology was not yet up-to-date and the news media was not so developed, so there were not many photos and records, but there were already many figures and testimonies. At that time, it can be considered that the majority of Myanmar people did not try to fully sympathize with these events. The crimes committed in suppressing the ethnic armed organizations that occurred in Shan State in the 1990s, the crimes committed in Karen State in that same decade, and the crimes committed upon the Rohingya people in northern Rakhine by the military were the examples in which they torched the villages, forcing the local residents to displace and destroying the villages so the armed groups couldn’t settle in those villages.


Now, in practicing the same tactics in Sagaing and Magway Divisions, it is in a situation where they have to resettle in the forest in nearby fields and villages that have been burned because there is no way to escape by opening the refugee camps as in the ethnic regions.


I assume that the NUG, an anti-military council political organization, is responsible for making it possible to overcome such situations and prevent them from occurring or to reduce arson attacks. I think it is necessary for them to discuss to find a solution and prevent it strategically and tactically. A few months ago, the leader of the Pale Defense Force, Bo Nagar, said in an interview that it was easy for the military council to set fire, but it was difficult for them to prevent it.


If the arson attacks can’t be prevented, I think there will be 2 consequences. The first one is that the revolutionary spirit against the military council troops may become more intense due to the enemy’s atrocities and oppression up to the point where there is a clear cut between enemies and friends, and there may be more determination. Another one is that the people will not be able to support the armed resistance forces because their material assets have become zero and they will have to struggle hard to survive as individuals and families. In this situation, it will be difficult for PDF groups to ask the community for food aid, and it will be even more difficult to get financial support. I think it is necessary to seriously consider these points.


Another piece of news for today is the news that the NUG has offered to provide security if the United Nations provides humanitarian aid in some areas of Sagaing and Magway Divisions. It is true that humanitarian assistance is needed in these areas. It is also true that there is a need to provide security for the local community so that their houses and properties are not further destroyed. It will be necessary not to forget that humanitarian assistance is needed on one side and, on the other hand, it is also important how to protect the current situation so that it is not destroyed again.