Sagaing Division which is still being torched by the military council troops

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – December 17 Scenes
MoeMaKa, December 18 2022

Sagaing Division which is still being torched by the military council troops


Townships and villages in Sagaing Division have been subjected to military council troops entering to conduct operations and burning houses alternately for over one year, but they have not stopped and it is not in a position to prevent it. It is taking place in almost all townships in Sagaing Division up to the bordering townships to Kachin State including Yinmarbin, Pale, Kani, Salingyi, Chaung-U, Myinmu, Ye-U, Khin-U, Tabayin, Shwebo, Wetlet, Taze, Kanbalu, Kyun Hla, Kawlin and Inndaw etc. The military council is using brutal and filthy tactics to clear out locally formed armed forces, commonly referred to as “Local People’s Defense Forces,” by burning down the villages where these forces base as a frank punishment and forcing them to abandon resistance attacks by allowing their troops to loot the food and valuable assets.


Over the past year, tens of thousands of houses, hundreds to thousands of civilian lives, and financial losses have been unaccounted for and unimaginable losses have occurred in Sagaing. They may say that for a revolution that will change the modern system, there must be sacrifices of lives, houses, wealth and property like this. Although there is no dispute that there must be sacrifices for a revolution to succeed, it is necessary to aggregate the resistance attacks and set a period of time to reach it under a unified leadership. I think it should be considered whether military attacks should be based on populated villages or based on uninhabited areas in the region. It is true that being based in villages has advantages for public participation and access to food and information, but it also has the consequence of villages being destroyed. Because PDF forces are based in the villages, the junta troops are destroying the villages with the purpose of sending a message to the public so that the villages dare not accept the PDFs.


In order to fight against the US Army as in the Vietnam War, the revolutionary forces led by Ho Chi Minh were based in the villages, organized and trained military experiences, information reporting experiences and combat forms with public participation to the villagers regardless of gender. By this means, they attacked the US Army troops who had superior weapons and money. It is a strategy to train the civilians in the form of a militia to respond to a foreign invasion. The civil war in Myanmar is not directly comparable to the Vietnam War which attacked the US Army, but as for PDFs, they are fighting a typical army which has an advantage in strength by basing in the countryside. On the side of the PDFs that have been resisting, there are weaknesses in the number and type of weapons, as well as the fact that instead of establishing strategies and tactics from a single central command system, groups, formed according to their own villages and townships, are fighting with their own strategies. There is no organization of strength and it may be weakened in long-term standing.

The townships and regions above Sagaing Division rely mainly on agriculture for their livelihood, and after the armed clashes, arson attacks, and airstrikes, it has been more than a year since they can no longer do agriculture well. In a situation where the region is no longer safe, in addition to the loss of houses, the inability to produce food also occurs. So, on the one hand, it may be necessary to prepare for the possibility of a decline in the ability to support the revolution. Many middle-aged young people are joining the armed forces, and many are leaving to work wherever they can in foreign countries. It is estimated that there will be about 4 to 5 thousand people applying for passports all over Myanmar every day the office is open. There are nearly 3,000 people applying for passports in the city of Yangon alone, and after the military coup, restrictions to prevent the spread of Covid infection have been lifted to a certain extent, and many young people leaving abroad to find jobs has become a big trend. There were cases where there were only a few young and middle-aged people to carry the dead body if there was a death, as they were fleeing the villages and leaving only elderly grandparents behind. It was found in Mon State and Karen in the previous decade, and there is a possibility that it will happen in other states and regions.

If you look at the fact that the mother and father of the elementary school child who was killed by the military council airstrike on the school in Letyetkone village recently were both working in factories in Thailand, it can be seen that not only those from Mon State, Karen State and Tanintharyi Division are going to Thailand to work, but many young and middle-aged people from Sagaing Division in central Myanmar are also going to work as migrant workers in Thailand. As the armed revolution becomes prolonged, we can see that the socio-economic conditions are changing depending on the regional security situation.