Charred corpses discovered in Sagaing village occupied by junta troops

It was not clear if the six victims were local people or civilians from elsewhere who had been taken hostage as human shields

Local defence forces in Sagaing Region’s Ye-U Township say they found the charred remains of six people on Thursday in a village that had been occupied by regime forces for two days.

Members of an anti-junta group entered the village of Mone Taing Pin after a military column of about 70 soldiers left early Thursday morning. A leader of the group said that the bodies were all found in one house.

No other details were known about the victims, he added.

“We still can’t identify the bodies, as there was nothing left of them but bones. We don’t know if they were local people or if they had been taken from somewhere else as hostages,” said the leader, who identified himself as Bilone.

“The house they were in was completely destroyed by fire,” he added, noting that around 30 of the roughly 400 houses in the village had been reduced to ashes.

Two days earlier, local defence forces clashed with the soldiers who went on to take control of Mone Taing Pin.

According to Bilone, two resistance fighters were killed in that battle after the military opened fire with heavy artillery. Their bodies were also recovered after the junta troops left the area.

“The regime forces picked up the bodies from where they fell and dumped them just outside of the village,” he said.

A funeral was held for the pair later that day, he added.

Anti-regime groups active in the area said that the presence of displaced villagers and other civilians had constrained their efforts to mount attacks on junta forces.

A plan to use explosive devices against the troops that had occupied Mone Taing Pin had to be abandoned after it was learned that they were holding 28 people, including three monks, as human shields.

“We couldn’t attack them. We had already set up the explosives and were waiting for them all night. But we had to cancel the plan because they had hostages,” said KG, the leader of another group in the area.

The soldiers reportedly went from Mone Taing Pin to Ponnagar, another village about 5km to the south.

While no details were available at the time of reporting, KG said that shots were heard after the soldiers arrived at the village.

It was unclear if this indicated renewed fighting, or if some of the hostages had been killed.

Junta officials were not available for comment when contacted by Myanmar Now.

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