Myanmar Junta Troops Based at Chinese-Owned Mine Cut Up Villagers

By Nora Aung 22 June 2022

Myanmar’s regime troops at the Chinese mining firm Wanbao have reportedly killed two villagers and torched homes in Salingyi Township, Sagaing Region.

On Tuesday morning troops from the China Wanbao Engineering Co mine entered Moe Gyo Pyin North village and tortured and cut up two men, according to the Salingyi Revolution (SR).

Photos appear to show a near-severed head and a body covered in knife wounds. No hands are visible on the other body and internal organs are showing.

The victims U Tin Soe, 45, and U Pwa Gyi, 47, were reportedly farmers in the village.

“They were brutally tortured before they died,” said an SR representative.

Regime forces held about 20 villagers hostage while they burned down approximately 70 houses in the village, which had more than 200 houses and over 2,000 residents. The hostages were released that evening.

On Wednesday morning troops detained 100 Sel Tai Maung villagers and held them at the village monastery after the SR and other resistance groups fired on the Wanbao mine on Tuesday afternoon.

“We did not intend to attack Wanbao but regime troops based themselves in the compound. They turned Wanbao into an army base,” the SR representative said.

Residents claim the troops responsible for arson and murders are assigned for the security of the Wanbao mine.

In April, 16 resistance groups from Salingyi and Yinmabin townships called for mining to stop at Wanbao and for China to end its support of the regime. Security was increased at the mine as a result.

Since the coup last year, China has refused to condemn the junta.

On June 20 approximately 100 vehicles in a military convoy, including two tanks, arrived at the Wanbao  mine after making slow progress from Chin State. It had been repeatedly ambushed on the Pale-Yinmabin-Monywa road.

Wanbao has been operating the controversial Letpadaung copper mine, in partnership with the military-owned Myanma Economic Holdings Company, since 2010.

Heavy protests against the mine began in 2012 after land was seized and environmental damage became evident. Villagers demanded compensation. In 2014 a woman was killed and many others, including monks, were injured in a crackdown by the security forces.

By the end of May, an estimated 18,886 houses and other buildings had been burned down by the regime across Myanmar and Sagaing, as a resistance stronghold, suffered the most, losing an estimated 13,480 houses, according to Data for Myanmar, an independent group monitoring junta atrocities.