Junta troops killed four villagers and four members of a local People’s Defense Force (PDF), in a five-day onslaught, during which the junta set fire to villages in the south of Sagaing region’s Monywa township forcing more than 3,000 villagers to flee their homes.
A local told RFA the eight people killed on Sunday were not all PDF members as claimed on pro-junta Telegram channels.
“The military channels posted pictures of eight dead PDF members, but actually only four PDF people died and the other four are civilians,” said a spokesperson for the Monywa-AMyint (sic) Road Information Group, which reports on events in Monywa and Amyint townships.
“It can be seen in the picture, the people who were shot and killed in Paso [traditional male clothing] without weapons were civilians. One hand-made gun and four new guns were taken,” the spokesperson said.
Locals said it was difficult to confirm which villages the dead came from because junta troops are still stationed around Htan Lay Pin village making it difficult for them to return home and check with other residents.
They told RFA the column of troops came from battalions based in Monywa, adding up to around 150 fighters when combined with the military-affiliated Pyu Saw Htee group in Taw Pu village,
Sagaing region has seen some of the fiercest fighting between junta troops and PDFs since the coup in February 2021. Soldiers have also targeted villages in the region that are thought to be harboring anti-junta fighters.
Earlier this month the army shelled a village in Sagaing’s Kanbalu township killing two members of the same family and injuring two others.
More than 1500 civilians died in Sagaing between the start of the junta-regime and the end of October this year, according to the Institute for Strategy and Policy – Myanmar, an independent think tank.
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