Garment factory workers say repression intensified after recent labor strike

According to local sources, residents of six villages along the Yaw River in Pakokku Township, Magway Region, have been facing increasing hardship since being attacked by regime forces in recent months. .

At least 7,000 people from the villages of Myit Phyar, De Pyar, Taung Pa Lu, eastern Kan Hpyu, Shar Du and Saing Hpyu have been displaced by junta raids that began in April, sources said.

According to a member of a local People’s Defense Forces (PDF) group, few of them have been able to return home due to ongoing military operations in the area.

“They have to stay in the forests and cannot go home. They are in dire need of food and clothing,” said the PDF member, who went by the name Naga Gyi.

Many displaced people have lost their homes to arson attacks. In Myit Phyar, which was raided on April 8, a total of 106 houses were burned down by junta troops.

In Pyar, Taung Pa Lu and eastern Kan Hpyu, all of which were attacked on June 8, a total of 215 houses were lost, while 119 were destroyed in Shar Du and Saing Hpyu in raids that took place July 8.

According to Naga Gyi, junta soldiers and members of the army-backed Pyu Saw Htee militia continue to loot houses that are still standing, making it impossible for their owners to return.

A resident of Myit Phyar who goes by the name of Ko Fatty said rice and other staples were scarce and nearly impossible to transport to the area.

“We can still get vegetables, which grow along the river, but there is hardly any rice, oil or salt. The army has blocked all entry and exit routes from the area, and they are searching any vehicle they see carrying more than a dozen sacks of rice,” he said.

Lack of shelter is also a problem that will only get worse in the coming months as the rainy season progresses, he added. It will also reinforce the isolation of the villagers and make it more difficult to supply them.

“The roads are starting to get really bad at this time of year, so it will soon be impossible to drive anywhere. We really don’t know what to do next,” said Ko Fatty.

He added that although the Pakokku PDF donated rice and oil, it would not last long due to overwhelming needs.

Meanwhile, attempts to seek help from the Shadow National Unity Government (NUG) have been thwarted by continued army attacks in the region.

“We have submitted a list of houses that have been destroyed [to the NUG] so that we can supply the displaced villagers, but the army keeps burning more,” Ko Fatty told Myanmar Now.

The junta forces responsible for the attacks are stationed in Seik Kha Wa, a village at the foot of Tan Kyi Hill, across the Ayeyarwady River from Bagan Nyaung-U.

Regime soldiers burned thousands of homes in parts of the country that saw the strongest resistance to the regime that took power last year, including Magway and Sagaing regions and Chin and Karenni states. .

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, more than 750,000 people have been displaced by the conflict since the coup.

Michael O. Stutler