Discovery of bodies heightens concern for detained women

November 21st, 2021  •  Author:   Ma Baik Rem Chin , Ko Cher Thang Puia , and Ko Ram Mawia  •  4 minute read
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Baik Rem Chin, Cher Thang Puia, and Ram Mawia were all killed following a raid on a Kalay PDF base on November 16 (Supplied)  

Fears for the safety of nine medics captured by regime forces last week have grown amid evidence that three others detained at the same time were tortured to death 

By Myanmar Now

Regime forces who captured 12 members of the Kalay People’s Defence Force (PDF) during a raid last week tortured three of them to death and used the other nine as human shields, according to a member of the group.

The bodies of two men found dead at a base that was overrun by junta troops last Tuesday had multiple face injuries, while a woman believed to have been killed the day after the raid had a bullet wound in her forehead, Kalay PDF member Victor said.

“The injuries on one of the male bodies suggest that his face was beaten with a rock until he died,” said Victor, who added that the bodies were recovered two days after the raid.

The male victims were identified as Cher Thang Puia, 27, and Ram Mawia, 26. The 23-year-old female victim, Baik Rem Chin (aka Chin Chin), was providing medical training at the base, located in southwestern Kalay Township, when it was raided.

Yati Ohn, a friend of the murdered woman, expressed concern for the safety of nine other young women captured at the Kalay PDF Battalion 3 base the same day.

“I am very worried for the lives of those girls. The military council has no regard for human rights standards or international laws and may subject them to psychological and physical torture,” said Yati Ohn, who leads a team of medics.

“I would like to request help from both international and local organizations,” she added.

A coalition of local resistance forces that clashed with the soldiers following the raid said that they later retreated to avoid harming the hostages, who they said were being used as human shields.

It is believed that the women, whose photos went viral after they were posted online by the junta last week, are currently being held at the headquarters of the military’s Kalay Regional Operations Command (ROC).

“We heard that all nine were taken to Kalay and then to the ROC headquarters,” said Victor.

According to the Kalay PDF, nearly 30 junta soldiers were killed during three days of fighting early last week. Two of its members were also injured by shelling, but remain in stable condition, the group said.

The base that was raided was the closest one to Kalay, according to PDF member Victor, who said that it was easily captured because there were few troops there at the time of the raid.

“The security at the base was lowered as several of our troops had been sent to the frontlines,” he said. He added that the regime failed to obtain any sensitive information.

Residents of Kalay reported a number of clashes late at night last Thursday.

“There was an explosion at around 11pm and then it got worse. We heard consecutive gunshots. There was also a clash at the Kalay police station. Gunshots could be heard all over town. It only stopped after midnight,” said a local man.

Myanmar Now was unable to determine which group the military was fighting that night.

On Friday, the Kalay PDF released a statement warning civilians to avoid using the Kalay-Gangaw road.

The military has dramatically increased its presence in Sagaing Region and Chin State since mid-October, when it launched a new offensive, dubbed Operation Anawrahta, to crush resistance to the regime that seized power in February.

Original Post: Myanmar Now