Rubble and ashes, overlooked by a single golden pagoda, are almost all that remain of the wood and brick houses most people had built for themselves in the quiet riverside village of Bin in the Buddhist heartland of central Myanmar.

Bin is one of more than 100 villages partially or completely burned by Myanmar's military since the start of this year, its homes among more than 5,500 civilian buildings razed as troops try to suppress opposition to last year's coup, according to media reports collated by activist group Data For Myanmar.

Dozens of satellite images, supplied by U.S earth-imaging company Planet Labs and U.S space agency NASA, show widespread torching of villages in the central part of the country. The photos, largely confirming the local media reports, are among the strongest evidence to date that the military is using widespread arson to step up its assault on resistance in the central Sagaing region, where residents have said there is armed opposition to the junta.