Loikaw, 27 December
Military council has been burning and destroying the homes of fleeing people amid fighting in Karenni State’s Lowikaw, said locals and revolutionary forces.
Fighting has escalated in Loikaw between the junta army and Karenni resistance forces since November, and the military regime’s artillery fire and aerial bombing forced almost all the residents to flee.
After the people fled, the homes in Loikaw were damaged by air strikes, firebombs, artillery shelling, and arson attacks by the regime forces every day.
A spokesman for the Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF) told Than Lwin Times that the junta troops are committing war crimes almost every day in Loikaw, burning houses, shooting and killing civilians.
On December 16, regime troops and policemen in plain clothes from Loikaw prison set fire to houses, said local organizations.
Thirimingalar Market,the main market in Loikaw was burned down to ashes after being hit by junta artillery shell on December 10.
“We feel bad. We are not the only ones who are facing this problem. At least we still have land,” said an aid worker in Loikaw.
More than 70 percent of the population of Loikaw, which has more than 10,000 houses and a population of nearly 30,000 according to the 2014 census, has fled their homes due to the fighting between the two sides.
Than Lwin Times cannot independently confirm the number of houses and buildings that were destroyed by fire amid fighting in Loikaw, but according to local residents, hundreds of houses and buildings may have been destroyed.
A Loikaw resident whose house was burned down called for the international community to take action against the military council’s arson attacks on houses built by the people despite their hardships.
The military council’s air strikes and artillery fire on Loikaw destroyed many landmarks, including the Christian church.
According to ISP-Myanmar, an independent research organization, over 86,000 homes and buildings have been damaged due to arson attacks by the junta army in nearly three years since military coup.
News-Than Lwin Times