Five civilians accused of being military informants from two villages in Gangaw, Magwe Region were found dead on Monday afternoon, according to local residents. A local anti-junta civilian resistance group said it targeted the five as they were collaborating with junta forces operating in the area.
The bodies of the five were found with an injured woman and a burned-out vehicle by local residents between Ye Hla and South Khayan villages, some 32 miles from Gangaw, said a Yaw resident who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The five deceased comprised two administrators from Hantharwady and Thintaw villages, a teacher, a nurse and an administrative office clerk.
“The teacher and nurse were on their way back together with the administrators after they collected their salaries. Only one was alive, but she sustained severe injuries,” the Yaw resident said.
Another local said, “The victims were targeted because they didn’t join the CDM [civil disobedience movement]” of striking civil servants who are refusing to work for the military regime following the Feb. 1 coup.
However, a source close to the Yaw Defense Force (YDF), a local civilian resistance group, said the victims were targeted not merely because they were not participating in the CDM, but because they were military informants who had assisted junta forces’ operations in the area.
“They were turncoats, traitors and informants. They informed the junta forces about striking civil servants and got them arrested. They received junta forces into their homes,” he said.
The YDF said in a statement on Monday that it ordered the vehicle to stop for a security check after receiving a tip-off that it was carrying explosive materials.
“The YDF stopped them to conduct a check, but they refused and fought back. We heard that junta forces are trying to arm Pyu Saw Htee members. They were transporting arms. We took advantage,” said a source close to the incident.
Locals believe the six were informants belonging to a Pyu Saw Htee—groups established, reportedly with support from the military, to counter pro-democracy activists and anti-regime protesters.
Monday’s killings are thought to have their roots in an incident in Gangnaw on May 28 in which a number of regime troops were killed in a shootout with the YDF.
“After that incident, the military raided Ye Hla Village and set three houses ablaze. Three people died, including a disabled person who could not speak. It was those killed on Monday who brought the junta forces to the village,” the Yaw resident said.
Locals said the police did not arrive at the scene of Monday’s killings until around 5 p.m. on Tuesday. Since then, a number of residents of surrounding villages have fled their homes, fearing reprisals.
Following junta forces’ lethal crackdowns on peaceful anti-coup protesters, armed resistance to the military regime has become increasingly common in Myanmar. The junta’s battalions, police stations and general administration offices have been attacked in various ways, and killings of people deemed to be military informants are on the rise.
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