The sad ending of a beautiful village

April 24, 2024

“Dhammasa” was a beautiful and peaceful village located on the riverbank of the “Gyaing River”. Inhabited mostly by Mon people, it had many big houses. That is gone now.  The recent and reckless attack by the military junta,has burnt the village to ash.

On March 25th, 2024, the Mon and Karen joint revolutionary forces attacked the police station in Kaw Bane village, Kaw Ka Rate Township, Mon State. After a heavy battle revolutionary forces took control of the police station.

Then in the evening of March 27th, the junta’s army, navy and air forces attacked the village.

“(The junta’s navy ship) launched an artillery attack for two consecutive days. The houses in the village were very close to each other so the fire spread very rapidly. The military closed the Ta Ra Nar route to block fire brigades (from other townships) from coming to “Dhammasa” village,” said one resident.

As there were not enough people to stop the fire, the entire village quickly burnt to ash. One villager was killed and four were injured. Approximately 300 houses were burnt down. The estimated loss is in the millions MMK.

Plywood houses and two-storey houses were burning down. 90% of the village caught on fire,” said a local villager.

The military junta continued to launch indiscriminate attacks on “Dhammasa” and its neighboring villages, including Kaw Bane, Kaw Pauk, Pha Yar Gyi, Than Ga Long, Ta Ra Nar and Kaw Thut forcing more than 6,000 residents to flee the area.

Some villagers still remained in the village at the start of the fire, to guard their houses,” said a “Dhammasa” resident.

Displaced persons have been hiding in rock caves in nearby forests and some have taken shelter at the monasteries.

There are about 500 displaced persons in the monasteries in Chaung Zone and Mawlamyine Townships. All are urgently in need of food and safe shelter.

The junta has no plan to stop or halt their attacks. More than 100 troops launched operations in Ta Ra Nar and Kaw Thut villages, Kyikemayaw Township on April 8th and 9th, 2024. The troops have stationed themselves at the monasteries, in the Mon national schools and village lanes. Fear has gripped the villagers and the villagers.

We had to run away immediately, so we did not have time to bring enough food. It’s impossible to go back to the village as the junta’s aircraft are patrolling overhead. They’ve also launched indiscriminate artillery attacks. The military won’t allow us to cross the “Gyaing River”,” said a displaced person.

Currently there is no active armed clash around “Dhammasa” village but the military junta continues to launch air assaults on “Dhammasa”, Ta Ra Nar and Kyune Gone villages.  On April 8th, two children from Kyune Gone village sustained injuries.

The military junta assumes that the People’s Defense Force and the New Mon State Party (AD – Anti Dictatorship) have been active around “Dhammasa” and its neighboring villages, hence their on-going attacks. 

Even though we could try to go back to our village, we have no house to stay and no monastery to take shelter in. I don’t know how long we have to be like this,” said a displaced woman.

The displaced are seeking safe shelter all across Southern Mon State. Mon communities abroad, Mon business persons, the Mon monk community and many local Mon people have been providing support and aid, but the losses are immense and tragic.


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