28,434 houses torched in Myanmar since military coup

Sagaing Region was the worst affected with as many as 20,153 houses burnt down, followed by Magway Region with 5,418 houses destroyed and 1,474 homes burned down in Chin State

September 01, 2022 by Peoples Dispatch
SAC military burnt down a market of Yesagyo after clash with a local PDF women group. Photo: @Khithitofficial

A report by Data for Myanmar released on August 28 revealed that the junta forces have torched 28,434 houses in 645 locations in the country since the military coup ousted the democratically elected government of Aung San Suu Ki on February 1, 2021. According to the report, Sagaing Region was the worst affected with as many as 20,153 houses burnt down, followed by Magway Region with 5,418 houses destroyed, and 1,474 homes burned down in Chin State. Around 1,400 homes were torched in other parts of Myanmar.

The conflict in Myanmar has become entrenched with continuous fighting between anti-coup insurgents and the military, with Sagaing, Magway and Chin being the main centers of the conflict. The military led by General Min Aung Hlaing has carried out arson attacks in at least 11 States and Regions.

Since the military coup in February 2021, over 15,285 people including civilians, trade unionists, journalists and activists have become political prisoners. OCHA reported that at least 320,000 people have been internally displaced. 700,000 people have fled to neighboring countries since the takeover of the government by the military, according to UN estimates. In addition, over 2,250 people have been killed as the anti-coup uprising has been violently suppressed by the military.

Data for Myanmar, an independent research group, noted an escalation in attacks in April, May and June in 27 of Sagaing’s townships. Nearly 12,000 houses were partially or fully damaged in Sagaing, while 1,300 houses were torched in Magway Region, which also saw a spike in arson attacks by the junta forces during this period. 

On July 22, Myanmar Witness in a report titled “Burning Myanmar” supported the accusations leveled against the military and alleged the “deliberate and systematic mass burning” of buildings, including essential civilian infrastructure and protected buildings such as churches by the security forces, allegedly in retaliation for supporting anti-coup insurgents. “Footage verified by Myanmar Witness is consistent with the dates and locations reported by local media and residents, who claim that the military were responsible,” the report said.