A village in the centre of Myanmar has been burned down after clashes between the security forces and local guerrillas left at least two people dead.
Villagers told the BBC that 200 of the 240 houses in Kin Ma were burned to the ground by the military on Tuesday.
They said the incident began after forces clashed with a local militia opposed to the governing regime.
One resident told the BBC that security forces clashed with the local People’s Defence Force (PDF). Such groups were formed in the wake of the military coup and have started to fight against the police and military with homemade weapons.
“When the PDF members drew back, the security forces came into the village and started to set alight the houses in the southern part,” the resident said. “Almost the whole village was burned down to ashes.”
State television however, blamed the fire and destruction of the village on “terrorists”.
According to Reuters news agency, state-run MRTV reported that any media that suggested another cause was “deliberately plotting to discredit the military”.
Another resident said the villagers fled into the woods. Two elderly people however could not run and died in the fire, locals said, while several more were reported missing.
“The fire was everywhere in the village and we saw big flames,” the resident said. “We had to flee for our lives from gunfire and we had to watch it from a distance.”
According to Reuters, the fire was so large it was recorded by Nasa’s satellite fire-tracking system.
Myanmar’s military seized power in February, alleging voter fraud in general elections held the previous year – a vote independent election monitors say was largely free and fair.
Demonstrations spread across the country after the coup. Security forces responded with a brutal crackdown, killing more than 800 people and detaining close to 5,000.