Burma: residents accuse the junta of massacres in a village

Burma: Residents accuse junta of massacres in village

UPDATE DAY

Burmese junta troops killed at least 10 people and burned down hundreds of homes in a raid on a village in the northwest of the country, as fighting rages in a pocket opposition party, according to media and locals on Friday. 

The country has been in turmoil since the February 2021 military coup that ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi. There is regular fighting between the army and local militias backed by ethnic factions, and the junta's crackdown has left more than 2,000 people dead and over 15,000 arrested, according to a local NGO.

The region of Sagaing (north-west) has been the scene of heavy fighting and bloody reprisals since the coup, with junta troops working to crush resistance from the local 'People's Defense Force' (PDF).

In Kyi Su village, at least 20 charred bodies were found with their hands tied and hundreds of houses were burnt down, local media reported.

A resident told AFP on Friday that soldiers arrived in the village on July 18 in two helicopters and took about 100 people prisoner. 

“The elderly men were released the following day, while about young people stayed,” said residents, who requested anonymity.

Villagers discovered the bodies on their way back on July 20, after the soldiers had left, they added. 

“I went to look for my animals in the forest and found nine human bodies burned with their hands tied,” said one.

Another resident said 10 bodies were found and nine of them were identified by family members . 

At least 30 people from the village are missing according to these same sources.  

About 400 houses in the Muslim quarter of the village were burnt down and a mosque was partially damaged by fire, said a Muslim resident who fled before the troops arrived and whose house was among those set on fire. 

AFP did not could not independently verify the information coming from this isolated region, where Internet access is regularly cut by the junta authorities. 

Contacted by AFP, the junta could not be immediately reached.