Myanmar Junta Captives Confess to Rakhine Executions

Myanmar junta soldiers and police in Mrauk-U Township have confessed to involvement in the execution of seven Rakhine civilians, including a former journalist and rapper, in an Arakan Army (AA) video.

The detainees said the seven civilians were held at Mrauk-U police station before they were taken to Light Infantry Battalion 378 headquarters in late December.

The AA seized the police station on December 24 but the senior ranks left with the detainees for the infantry camp.

Major Thein Htike Soe, a Battalion 378 company commander, said he ordered Lance Corporal Than Aung and Captain Arkar Myint to execute the civilians, including rapper and social influencer Phoe La Pyae and Phoe Thiha, also known as Myat Thu Tun, a formerjournalist.

Maj Thein Htike Soe says on the video that he and District Police Chief Khin Maung Soe told the divisional commander Min Min Tun that the seven detainees were killed by shrapnel in a bomb blast. He did not say why he ordered the killings.

Deputy Police Chief Major Khin Maung Soe and army Captain Arkar Myint said the major ordered the executions on January 23.

Capt Arkar Myint says in the video: “The lance corporal asked to carry out the executions in the bomb shelter under the clinic, inside the base. I agreed and told him to bury the bodies.”

Former journalist Phoe Thiha and rapper Phoe La Pyae who were among the seven civilians executed by the junta in Rakhine State.

He expressed sadness for the executions and apologized to the families and the wider community for his involvement, adding that he would accept any punishment.

The AA on February 11 reported that dead bodies were found in a bomb shelter under the clinic inside Battalion 378 in Mrauk-U Township with gunshot wounds and signs of torture.

On February 22 Reporters Without Borders (RSF) called on the international community to act to stop junta massacres.

“This shocking murder bears the hallmark of the Myanmar military junta, which for three years now has imposed a climate of terror on all media professionals and is once again demonstrating its ruthless violence,” said Cédric Alviani of RSF.

He has called on the regime to cease its campaign of terror against the media and release the 62 journalists and press freedom defenders detained in the country.

Fighting restarted in Rakhine State when the AA attacked junta forces on November 13 with repeated civilian casualties caused by junta airstrikes, shelling and naval attacks.

Irrawaddy News