Three civilians killed by artillery shell as Magway villages come under heavy fire

Three civilians died on Friday after they were hit by an artillery shell fired at their village in Magway Region’s Myaing Township, according to local sources.

Residents of the village of Padauk Kan, formerly known as Ywar Shey, said the three victims were killed when the attack, which was carried out by a column of around 100 junta soldiers, began shortly after noon.

“They were resting after having lunch when the shell fell on their house. A fire started when another shell landed on the house next door. We tried to put it out, but we had to flee because they kept firing at us,” a local villager who did not want to be named told Myanmar Now.

The victims were identified as Wat Gyi, 72, Khin Htwe, 70, and Ye Myint, their 30-year-old son.

A total of 45 houses were destroyed by the shelling, according to residents, who added that at least five people were captured when junta troops raided the village after the initial assault.

“Their hands were tied behind their backs and they were beaten  during their arrest,” said one villager. “We heard that they were later killed, but we still haven’t found their bodies.”

According to an officer of the anti-regime Myaing People’s Defence Force (PDF), 17 more houses were burned down during a second raid on the village on Sunday. Another village in the area suffered even more extensive damage, he added.

“Almost the entire village of Letyetma has been destroyed,” Cross, the officer in charge of the Myaing PDF’s northern zone, said on Monday.

Letyetma, a village of more than 1,400 households located to the east of Padauk Kan, lost an estimated 800 houses after it was raided at around 5pm on Saturday, he said.

“We tried to put out the fires, but they wouldn’t let us get close enough. They just kept firing heavy artillery at us late into the night. Eventually, we had to retreat,” he said.

The junta troops—who were said to be accompanied by members of the military-backed Pyu Saw Htee militia from the nearby village of Kanni—are currently stationed in the eastern part of Letyetma.

The village is largely uninhabited, as thousands of its residents have fled since the beginning of the year.

The military column responsible for the attacks on Padauk Kan and Letyetma is believed to be holding around 30 civilians as human shields, local sources said.

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