At least two civilians were killed in separate incidents last week as the junta continues its efforts to crush opponents to its rule
Regime forces and members of the pro-military Pyu Saw Htee group murdered at least two villagers in Magway Region last week, according to local sources.
On Thursday, the charred remains of a man were found inside a house that had been set on fire in Hnan Khar, a village in Gangaw Township that has been largely deserted since it came under an aerial attack on December 17.
The body was believed to belong to 45-year-old Htwar Maung, one of three people abducted by regime forces in the area last week, local sources said.
Htwar Maung and another man, 60-year-old Pei Tone, were reportedly taken into custody together when military troops returned to Hnan Khar on Wednesday.
According to a village leader, Pei Tone was found alive near the house containing the burnt body.
“He was close to death when we found him. We couldn’t ask him anything, because he couldn’t speak,” said the village leader, adding that Pei Tone, who was said to be mentally disabled, had bruises covering his head and back.
The third person was identified as 50-year-old Than Ngwe, who was seen being taken away with his hands tied behind his back as the troops left the village later the same day.
Like Pei Tone, Than Ngwe was described by local residents as being mentally challenged. It is believed that he was taken as a human shield. Residents of Hnan Khar discovered nine bodies in the village after it had been occupied by regime forces in the wake of last month’s air raids.
Residents of Hnan Khar discovered nine bodies in the village after it had been occupied by regime forces in the wake of last month’s air raids.
Meanwhile, there were also reports that a 58-year-old man had been shot and killed in Zee Taw, a village located some 215km southeast of Hnan Khar in Pauk Township, during a raid by police and local Pyu Saw Htee members on Friday.
The victim, Myint Shwe, was reportedly killed at around 11am as he was returning home after working in his fields.
According to the leader of a guerrilla force active in Pauk Township, Myint Swe was murdered as he attempted to flee a group of 16 men on motorcycles who had entered the village minutes earlier.
“They were just going around Zee Taw shooting randomly when they ran into him. They shot him six times,” said the local guerrilla leader, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
A woman who identified herself as a relative of the victim confirmed this account.
“I was feeding my children when they arrived. The Pyu Saw Htee were wearing hats to hide their identities and they drove away right after shooting him,” she said.
“They just ran into him by chance and shot him dead.”
Pyae Sone, a police defector who leads the Magway-based Myay Latt Guerrilla Force, was in the area at the time of the incident and said he later saw the victim’s body.
“He was such a simple person. He didn’t even know how to use a mobile phone, let alone take part in the revolution. He ran away in fear when he ran into them. They shot him until he was dead,” he said.
The Pyu Saw Htee group has been active in the area for months, terrorizing local villagers in an effort to suppress support for armed groups opposed to the junta that seized power last February.
In October, around 30 members of the group surrendered with their weapons to anti-regime forces in Magway after the military failed to protect them from attack.