Suspected massacre in Myanmar village highlights bitter struggle


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BANGKOK (AP) – Outrage spread through social media in Myanmar on Wednesday over images and reports of the alleged killings and arson of 11 villagers captured by government troops in the country’s northwest .

Photos and video of charred corpses in the village of Done Taw in the Sagaing region circulated widely on Tuesday. They were reportedly taken away shortly after the men were killed and their bodies set on fire.

The hardware could not be independently verified. An account given to the Associated Press by a person who said he visited the scene generally matched descriptions of the incident broadcast by Myanmar’s independent media.

The government has not commented on the allegations. If confirmed, they would be the latest atrocity in an increasingly bitter struggle after the military seized power in February and the ousting of Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government.

The takeover initially met with non-violent street protests, but after police and soldiers used lethal force against protesters, violence escalated as opponents of the military regime took up arms to defend themselves.

The witness who spoke to the AP, who described himself as a farmer and activist and requested anonymity for his own safety, said about 50 soldiers entered Done Taw village around 11 a.m. Tuesday, grabbing anyone who failed to escape. .

“They arrested 11 innocent villagers,” said the witness, who added that the captured men were not members of the locally organized People’s Defense Forces, which sometimes engages the army in combat. He said the captives had their hands tied behind them and were set on fire.

He gave no reason for the aggression of the soldiers. Burmese media accounts said they appeared to have acted in retaliation for an attack earlier in the morning by members of the People’s Defense Forces.

Other witnesses quoted in Burmese media said the victims were members of a defense force, although the witness who spoke to the PA described them as members of a protection group of less formally organized village.

There is resistance activity in the cities and the countryside, but the fighting is most deadly in rural areas where the army can deploy greater force against its targets. In recent months, the struggle has been fiercest in Sagaing and other parts of the northwest.

The alleged incident has been strongly criticized by Myanmar’s underground government of national unity, which has established itself as the country’s alternative administrative body in place of the military government.

“On December 7 in the Sagaing region, sickening scenes reminiscent of the Islamic State terrorist group witnessed the escalation of their terrorist acts by the military,” organization spokesman Dr Sasa said. in a press release.

“The sheer brutality, savagery and cruelty of these acts show a new depth of depravity and prove that, despite the pretext of the relative easing observed in recent months, the junta never intended to defuse its campaign of violence, ”said Sasa, who uses only one name.

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