Fourteen people, 11 resistance fighters and three civilians, were slaughtered earlier this week in Sagaing Region’s Khin-U Township, as Myanmar junta forces stepped up attacks on local People’s Defense Forces (PDF).
The military regime is reportedly on a ‘Kill All, Torch All’ mission to eliminate resistance in Sagaing before the annual Armed Forces Day on March 27.
Soldiers from Division 77 and pro-junta Pyu Saw Htee militia from Sagaing’s Ye-U Township arrived in Khin-U Township on March 5. They joined troops already deployed in Ywa Thit Gon Village in Khin-U and raided several surrounding villages, according to local residents.
Junta troops raided Thein Taw Village on Tuesday morning. They reportedly fired at least 50 rounds from 40 mm grenade launchers as they entered the village and clashed with PDF fighters.
Members of the village defense forces were forced to withdraw as junta troops continuously fired on them. But 11 fighters were detained and shot dead, said residents.
The slain resistance fighters bore signs of torture and some had been shot point-blank in their heads, a local who was involved in retrieving their bodies told The Irrawaddy.
“It appears that they were not killed in the fighting, but that they were shot dead after being arrested. They had no gunshot wounds to their bodies, but they were shot point-blank in their heads. Heads had been severed from some bodies. We also saw knotted ropes near the bodies which are believed to have been used to tie them. And they were apparently kicked in their chests with boots before being shot dead,” he said.
Eight of the victims were between 18 and 25 and two were 17. The other victim was 40, said locals.
Regime soldiers also shot dead three Kyun Lel villagers who they abducted and took to Thein Taw Village. The victims were 45, 48 and 55, according to locals.
“I think they [junta soldiers] killed the three villagers because they had witnessed their cruelty,” said one resident.
Locals were only able to retrieve the bodies on Wednesday after junta troops had left the village. They said they saw the cremated body of a junta soldier in the field where the resistance fighters were massacred.
Junta troops also torched homes, with 35 houses burned down in Dan Gon Village and 25 houses destroyed in Hman Taw Village, according to locals.
On February 17, 14 PDF fighters died in a junta raid on Myothit Village in Khin-U. Five resistance fighters were killed in a raid on Thayet Kan Village on February 20. That village was also raided on January 25, when 11 resistance fighters died.
Original Post: The Irrawaddy