Locals allege that soldiers entered nearby villages and rounded up 11 people
The Myanmar army has been accused of killing 11 villagers, including teenagers, and setting their bodies on fire in the strife-torn central part of the country.
The incident took place in the region of Sagaing near the city of Monywa, where two bomb attacks were reported on military convoys recently. Locals have claimed that the military action was in retaliation to the bomb attacks.
The region has been seeing an intense struggle between security forces and local militias opposing military rule since it seized power in a coup in February.
Locals alleged that soldiers entered nearby villages on Tuesday firing guns and rounded up 11 people, including a 14-year-old. Later, they spotted charred remains of their bodies.
“The troops were just brutally killing anyone they could find,” a volunteer aid worker in the area who asked not to be identified told Reuters news agency on the phone, adding that the troops entered Don Taw village.
Another volunteer aid worker told the news agency that about 3,000 people had fled from five villages in the area and gone into hiding fearing military clampdown and atrocities.
Kyaw Wunna, a member of a People’s Defence Force (PDF), a front fighting the military coup, said the 11 people were taken to a field near the village before being killed.
Images and videos of the burnt bodies have been circulating online but there’s no official confirmation from the army yet. It’s also unclear whether the men who died were involved in attacks against the army.
But a relative of one of the victims, Htet Ko, said he was a 22-year-old university student, not a member of any militia and wasn’t armed. “This is inhumane. I feel deep pain in my heart,” said the relative, who said the man had tried to flee, but had been wounded by gun fire.
Dr Sasa, a spokesperson for Myanmar’s shadow civilian government set up following the coup, and who goes by one name, said the victims had been “lashed together, tortured, and ultimately burned alive”.
In a post on social media, he listed out the names of the 11 victims. “These horrific attacks show that the military have no regard for the sanctity of human life,” he said.
Myanmar has been in the grips of conflict since the military seized control of the southeast Asian country in February, claiming electoral fraud, and declared a year-long state of emergency.
Since then, a clampdown began to repress dissenting voices, and over 10,700 civilians have been detained and 1,300 killed by security forces, according to Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.
Additional reporting by agencies