At least 23 civilians were killed in junta raids since early January in Loikaw Township, Kayah State, according to a humanitarian group.
Loikaw, the state capital, is largely deserted because of junta airstrikes in early January after clashes broke out between Myanmar’s regime and resistance groups.
On Friday six civilians killed during junta raids were found in Yeyo village and one was found in Bado village.
The charred bodies of a mother and her son were found in Htungungantha village on Thursday, according to sources.
In Yeyo village, four of the six victims were teenagers dumped in a septic tank. Some of the victims’ hands were tied and they had been shot, according to villagers.
A member of the Karenni Democratic Front said: “They were trapped in the village when junta soldiers arrived. Some of them had their hands tied. We can confirm that they were unarmed civilians.”
The victim from Bado appeared to have been tortured in a bathroom, dragged to a pit and shot.
A resident said: “Junta troops on January 24-25 were talking about conducting clearance operations. We are afraid we will find many more bodies.”
Thousands have been displaced in Loikaw Township during January.
At least 23 bodies have been found in the township. “The bodies were badly disfigured. They were being eaten by dogs. They might have been killed four days ago,” said a charity worker.
The regime denied killing any civilians in Loikaw, saying its troops only shot back at “terrorists”. It said it used helicopters because resistance fighters were using civilians as human shields.
On January 16, regime aircraft attacked displacement camps in Hpruso and Demoso townships, killing three civilians including, a seven-year-old girl and three health workers.
“Junta troops are still deployed in Loikaw town. Many houses were damaged or burned by artillery strikes and air raids. They are targeting civilians,” said a KDF member.
More than 30 civilians were killed and burned in vehicles in Hpruso Township in December.