Tortured, beheaded and dismembered

May 13th, 2023  •  Author:   Myanmar Witness  •  3 minute read
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A series of violent events in Sagaing

WARNING: GRAPHIC – This report contains extremely graphic imagery and links to graphic imagery shared online. While efforts have been made to blur details, the report contains information which some readers may find distressing.

Key Event Details

  • Location of Incidents:

    1. Ma Le Thar village (မလဲသာ) (22.115030, 95.455742) in Ayadaw township

    2. Pa Dat Taing village (ပဒတ္တိုင်း) (22.074770, 95.448303) in Myinmu township

    3. Kan Taw village (ကန်တော်) (22.027901,95.569941) in Myinmu township

    4. Tar Taing village (တာတိုင်) (21.933220, 95.644867) in Sagaing township

    5. Let Ka Pin village (လက္ကပင်) (21.87949944, 95.48097992) in Myinmu township

    6. Swea Lwe Oh village (ဆွဲလွဲအို) (21.79330063, 95.3681488) in Myaung township

    7. Than Bo village (သံဘို) (22.72942924, 95.67418671) in Khin-U township

    8. Ta Ga Nan village (တဂဏန်း) (22.53455925, 95.68533325) in Shwebo township

  • Date/Time of Incident:

    • Multiple events between 23 February and 2 April 2023

  • Alleged Perpetrator(s) and/or Involvement:

    • Light Infantry Division (LID) 99, based in Meikhtila

    • LID Commander: Major General Than Htike

    • No. 8 Military Training School, Shwebo township

  • Summary of Investigation: 

    • Myanmar Witness has investigated allegations related to eight incidents of violence in Sagaing. Six of these incidents involved the beheading of at least one individual.

    • One mass killing in Tar Taing led to the deaths of 17 individuals, including one beheading.

    • Myanmar Witness has found that at least 33 people were killed in the 8 incidents investigated, 12 of whom were beheaded.

    • Myanmar Witness identified, and where possible verified, imagery and video footage associated with these events, including images showing dismembered and beheaded bodies. Myanmar Witness also identified and geolocated footage of a beheading near Myaung.

    • Many sources claim that the Light Infantry Division (LID) 99, under the command of Major General Than Htike, is responsible for six of the incidents.

    • Locals report that the beheadings in Than Bo (incident 7) was carried out by the Security Administrative Council (SAC) No. 8 Military Training School from Shwebo township.

    • Images showing SAC soldiers were identified but not verified in association with events in Let Ka Pin.

    • The SAC released a statement admitting that SAC soldiers were responsible for a clash in Tar Taing.

Executive Summary 

Between 23 February and 2 April 2023, a Myanmar military column reportedly traversed through part of the Sagaing region, conducting mass killings, fires, rapes, and raids in several villages. Myanmar Witness has identified, and where possible verified, imagery and video footage associated with a number of these events, which show bodies that were tortured, beheaded and dismembered. Myanmar Witness has found that at least 33 people were killed in the 8 incidents investigated, 12 of whom were beheaded.

This report investigates claims related to the following events:

  1. Airstrike and ground troop incursion: Ma Le Thar

  2. Myanmar military raid: Pa Dat Taing

  3. Beheadings: Kan Taw

  4. Mass killing and beheading: Tar Taing

  5. Detention, mass killing and beheadings: Let Ka Pin

  6. Beheading: Swea Lwe Oh

  7. Beheadings: Than Bo

  8. Beheading, dismembering and rape: Ta Ga Nan


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WARNING: GRAPHIC – This report contains extremely graphic imagery and links to graphic imagery shared online. While efforts have been made to blur details, the report contains information which some readers may find distressing.