Burning Alive in Myanmar: Two Resistance Fighters Executed in Public

Warning: Graphic Content

Two anti-junta fighters in their 20s were executed in public in a village in Magwe Region and a video of the crime, which occurred about three months ago, was uploaded to social media on Tuesday and is circulating there.

They were burned alive after being hanged from a tree.

The video, first reported on by two local media outlets – and likely leaked to them – is narrated by a triumphant voice.

Resistance group Yaw Defense Force (YDF) said junta soldiers and allied Pyu Saw Htee militia members were responsible for the crime in Gangaw Township’s Myauk Khin Yan village.

The video circulating on social media shows the two men being forced to admit that they are members of a local People’s Defense Force. They are also forced to refer to themselves as “dogs” by the junta troops – some uniform others in civilian clothes – who, in the video, are seen standing around them.  “Military dogs” is a term used by many civilians to refer to junta troops.

The video shows evidence that they were tortured before they were burned alive. They have severe injuries and are covered in blood. Their hands and legs are bound by iron chains as they are dragged to a tree.

Yaw Defense Force identified that the two men executed as Phoe Tay and Thar Htaung.

After being forced to refer to themselves as “dogs,” they are hanged from a tree. A liquid believed to be fuel is poured on them and then lit.

They were burned alive in front of an audience.

Every household in the village was told to send one member to witness the execution, YDF said. The Irrawaddy could not independently verify this account.

The video is narrated by a joyful voice celebrating the crime as a triumph.

The YDF identified the two men executed as Phoe Tay and Thar Htaung, saying they were YDF members who were arrested by junta troops and Pyu Saw Htee members during an operation in Myauk Khin Yan village on Nov. 7, 2023.

The village is controlled by Pyu Saw Htee militias, reportedly under the direction of “Bullet” Hla Swe, a former lawmaker of the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party. The militias are notorious for violence against civilians, including shelling into the village and others nearby. In March 2022, two civilians were tortured to death in the village.

Many residents of the village have fled due to the expansion of Pyu Saw Htee militias.

The YDF said the two men were “burned alive in public.” “Before that, they were repeatedly tortured,” it said.

The two young men were dragged toward a tree before being burned alive in public.

Many social-media users are reacting to the video with fury and sorrow. Instead of spreading fear, such inhumanity will only make the revolutionary spirit against dictatorship stronger, many wrote in response.

Others compare the junta’s brutal treatment of detainees with that of anti-regime resistance groups and ethnic armed groups who adhere to international laws governing the treatment of prisoners of war.

“The terrorist military has been committing inhumane terrorist acts since long ago. The only way to ensure that there are no more incidents like this is to root out the military regime and ensure the revolution succeeds,” the YDF said in a statement.

“We would like to urge all people not to be cold-blooded and to unite together until the revolution succeeds,” it said.

Irrawaddy News