The three hid in a sunflower field but were forced to reveal themselves when troops threatened to burn down their house
By Myanmar Now
When junta soldiers came to the village of Than Po in Sagaing Region on Wednesday, Theresa Nu Len, 40, hid with her two teenage daughters in a field of sunflowers.
The masses of yellow blooms made for good cover, but when the troops came across their empty farmhouse, a small structure they stayed in while working on land away from their home in a neighbouring village, they thought of a brutally simple way to find the absent occupants.
“The soldiers threatened to torch their house if they didn’t come out from where they were hiding,” said a spokesperson for a local chapter of the Chinland Defence Force (CDF), citing other residents of the village.
“Once they came out, they were tied up and taken,” he added.
It appears that Angela Ngun Za Thian, 16, Regina Thian Nun Cawi, 14, and their mother were taken to their farmhouse in the eastern part of the village, shot to death, and then burned.
Locals heard three gunshots ring out from the house on the evening they were taken, and then found the badly charred remains of three bodies inside it the following morning.
“We have come to the conclusion that it was the three of them as they were the only people missing from the village,” said the CDF spokesperson, who works with the Kalay-Kabaw-Gangaw chapter of the armed resistance group.
“Some of their golden jewellery was found melted as well,” he added. “We gave the gold back to their family.” Relatives held a funeral for them later on the same day the remains were found.
The victims were from the village of Chaung Gwa, which is about 11km from Than Po.
On Thursday afternoon the soldiers raided Than Po again, this time setting fire to two houses, locals said.
The killings and arson were committed by members of Light Infantry Divisions 77 and 22, the CDF said.
A column of some 100 soldiers from those divisions has been stationed inside the Technological University in the town of Kalay, and on Sunday began terrorising villages in the south of Kalay Township, the group said.
The same column reportedly captured and killed two residents from the village of Ngar Phar on Tuesday. One of the men, Aung Tun, was found dead with head injuries, while the other, Than Hla Gyi, had been shot in the head at close range.
Than Hla Gyi suffered from a developmental disability that prevented him from speaking, a resident of the village told Myanmar Now. “He was arrested on his way back from picking flowers. We didn’t think he’d be killed,” said the local.
“The other one was arrested while herding cows. They just called him over and arrested him. We later found the bodies of both of them after hearing two gunshots,” he added.
On Thursday morning, the column fired artillery shells at an area of a village named Yan Gyi Aung where people were taking shelter after fleeing their homes earlier this month when soldiers tried to coerce them into joining the pro-junta Pyu Saw Htee militia.
The shelling killed one of the displaced people and forced the rest to flee, according to the CDF and a local resident.
“They were taking shelter in the western part of the village,” the local man said. “They fired both heavy and light weapons at the places where the displaced locals were taking shelter. They are now moving once again to the mountaintops. They left everything behind.”
On February 12, 14, and 16, an alliance of local resistance groups attacked a group of junta soldiers who were stationed inside Yan Gyi Aung.
Military-controlled newspapers on Thursday published an article that said junta information minister Maung Maung Ohn had briefed foreign media on the violence in Sagaing Region.
The minister blamed the violence on “terrorists” and claimed the military was protecting civilians and working towards ending the violence after inviting ethnic armed groups to talks, the report said.
“Our first step towards peace starts this year,” it quoted him as saying.
Original Post: Myanmar Now