Myanmar Junta Has Committed 32 Civilian Massacres Since Coup: NUG

By Hein Htoo Zan 8 March 2023

Myanmar’s military has committed more than 30 massacres of civilians throughout the country since seizing power on February 1, 2021, according to the parallel civilian National Unity Government (NUG).

“We collected data on mass killings of civilians by junta forces and verified at least 32 cases,” said U Aung Myo Min, the NUG’s minister for human rights.

Speaking at an NUG press conference on Monday, he said the most recent massacre was recorded earlier this month in Sagaing Region.

On March 1, troops of the junta’s Light Infantry Division 99 raided Tatai village in Shwe Li village tract, Sagaing Township. Locals said they initially killed a member of the local People’s Defence Force and took 16 villagers hostage to use as human shields. When the junta troops retreated, villagers found the bodies of the hostages badly mutilated, cut and chopped from brutal beatings. Among them were the corpses of three women, undressed and showing evidence of repeated rape.

The NUG counts each mass killing of at least five civilians as a massacre, U Aung Myo Min explained.

“The UN humanitarian office [UNOCHA] has recorded 24 massacres of civilians by the military regime. Our figure is a little higher. And there could be more cases that we couldn’t verify despite strong clues and evidence of massacre,” he said.

The 32 junta massacres documented and verified by the NUG include last year’s airstrikes on a school in Let Yet Kone village and a concert in Kachin State, and the mass killing of displaced civilians in Kayah state.

The NUG has condemned the crimes against humanity committed by the Myanmar military, including the recent massacre in Tatai village.

“We take seriously our obligation to seek justice. Relevant ministries are collecting information about all the crimes committed by the terrorist junta army, including mass killings, war crimes, targeted attacks, killings of civilians, looting and destruction of people’s livelihoods and property,” said the NUG statement released on Monday.

The civilian government also called on states at the current UN Human Rights Council session to strongly condemn the crimes against humanity and adopt an action-oriented resolution to halt them.

The NUG asked countries and international bodies to expand sanctions against the military junta and its associates, including direct bans on imports of arms, munitions, dual-purpose technology, aviation fuel and other equipment used by the junta to manufacture war material.