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Buddhist monk and a teacher found dead in Monastery basement

January 20th, 2023  •  Author:   Myanmar Witness  •  3 minute read
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Key Event Details

  • Location of Incident: 

  • Kywei Pon village (ကြွယ်ပုံ) [22.066194, 95.681244] and Da Pa Yin Kwe village (တပုရင်းကွဲ/ဒီပဲယင်းကွဲ) [22.049150, 95.669937], Sagaing Township (စစ်ကိုင်း), Sagaing State (စစ်ကိုင်း)

  • Date/Time of Incident(s): 

  • 5-6 January 2023

  • Alleged Perpetrator(s) and Involvement:

  • State Administration Council (SAC) – allegedly the 33 Light Infantry Division (LID)

  • Pyu Saw Htee (pro-SAC militia)

  • People’s Defence Force (PDF) – reportedly the 3 Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) (under the control of Sagaing PDF 8 LID)

  • Summary of the investigation:

  • On 5 January 2023, PDF allegedly attacked SAC troops and Pyu Saw Htee in Kywei Pon village (ကြွယ်ပုံ), killing one Pyu Saw Htee member.

  • Social media users allege that, at around 0500 on 6 January 2023, SAC troops raided and opened fire in neighboring Da Pa Yin Kwe village (တပုရင်းကွဲ/ဒီပဲယင်းကွဲ), killing four people, including a monk and a teacher.

  • Myanmar Witness geolocated images of a deceased Buddhist monk and a teacher to the Shwe Gu Gyi monastery basement in Da Pa Yin Kwe village.

  • UGC shows 5.56mm bullets at the scene. Using the Myanmar Witness’ Small Arms Guide, the bullet’s size matches the calibre of several assault rifle models used exclusively by the SAC’s armed forces.

  • Myanmar Witness was unable to verify the deaths of two PDF members.

  • The SAC allegedly set fire to the village before retreating on 6 January. Myanmar Witness verified the presence of fire on 6 January using NASA’s Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS) and Sentinel Hub.


On 5 January 2023, according to the Irrawaddy, PDF 3 Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) (under the control of Sagaing PDF 8 Light Infantry Division (LID)) alongside the Da Pa Yin Kwe PDF attacked Kywei Pon village where SAC and Pyu Saw Htee forces were camped. During the attack one Pyu Saw Htee member was shot and killed by the PDF. 

Following this, SAC armed forces (reportedly the 33 LID) allegedly raided the village of Da Pa Yin Kwe (တပုရင်းကွဲ/ဒီပဲယင်းကွဲ). According to Khit Thit, from 0500 on 6 January 2023, there was a continuous exchange of fire and the use of heavy weapons by the joint Pyu Saw Htee and SAC armed forces. The SAC allegedly shot and killed four people, including Ashin Gandhasara (အရှင် ဂန္ဓသာရ), a Buddhist monk and graduate of Thitagu Buddhist University, and Ma Khaing Su Mon (မခိုင်စုမွန်), a teacher who was allegedly associated with the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM). Ashin Gandhasara had reportedly travelled from Mandalay to Da Pa Yin Kwe village on the evening of 5 January and was staying at the Shwe Gugyi monastery.

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