Myanmar Junta Troops Kill 6 Resistance Members at Sagaing Monastery
By The Irrawaddy 14 March 2023
Warning: Graphic Content
The bodies of six resistance fighters have been retrieved from the Ayeyarwady River on the border of Myinmu and Myaung townships, Sagaing Region, after junta troops raided a village upstream, according to residents.
At 5 am on March 5, a column of around 100 regime soldiers responsible for a previous massacre in nearby Tar Taing village opened fire on Lak Ka Pin in Myinmu Township, severely injuring a 22-year-old woman and detaining 100 villagers.
The six resistance fighters were detained along with the villagers at the village monastery on March 5.
The body of Ko Soe Htike, 32, was discovered on March 9. The corpses of his five comrades were found in the river in the following days.
Among the five were Phoe Zaw, 39, Tun Naing Oo, 42, and Htoo Htoo, 35 – all members of the Zarmani Revolution Force MMU Myaung. The other two, Myo Ko, 24, and Maung Paing, 23, were from the Sagaing district battalion (1), according to Bae Than Gyi, leader of the Knight Commanders resistance force.
“One comrade’s skull was pierced through the ear by an iron spike. The other comrades were shot in the head and had their throats cut. They were all brutally killed,” Bae Than Gyi told The Irrawaddy.
The junta troops released some mothers and children on the evening of March 5 but detained the rest for two days before leaving the village on March 7, according to the leader of the village defense group.
The leader of Lak Ka Pin village defense force said the comrades were detained and killed as they sought refuge with senior monk Sayadaw Agga Wuntha, who heads the Pyigyitagon anti-dictatorship strike group, at the village monastery.
The senior monk was also detained during the raid, along with four other villagers – Phoe Htaung, 53, Ye Lin, 30, Min Min Htet, 30, and Soe Tay, 17.
Sayadaw Agga Wuntha is being held at the 33rd Infantry Division Headquarters in Sagaing, former capital of the region, according to a source close to the monk.
“We heard that Sayadaw contacted his followers to say he had been taken to the 33rd Division,” the source told The Irrawaddy.
The Irrawaddy could not verify that information.
Lak Ka Pin villagers have received no news about the four villagers detained at the same time as the monk and are worried about their fate.
“I want the international community to help halt the brutal torture, arrest and killing of innocent people,” said the leader of Lak Ka Pin village defense group.
The village has around 500 houses and is located on the river border of Myinmu and Myaung townships. The March 5 raid by regime troops forced more than 2,000 residents from Lak Ka Pin and three other border villages to flee their homes.
The junta task force that carried out the raid belongs to the military’s 99th Division. In a series of raids from February 23 to March 5 in Ayadaw, Myinmu and Sagaing townships in Sagaing, the same task force killed and beheaded 20 resistance members and massacred 16 civilian detainees, including three women who were raped before being murdered.
Junta troops from the 99th Division moved from Alakapa village in Myinmu to eastern Myaung Township on Sunday, forcing over 15,000 civilians to flee their houses, according to the Civil Defense and Security Organization Myaung (CDSOM). The troops killed three civilians and arrested three others during the raid.
“They raided the village with two military columns. Troops based at Kyaut Yit village are also raiding nearby villages at night. We are all feeling fearful now,” a resident told The Irrawaddy.
CDSOM said its small base was destroyed in the raid by a large number of regime troops on the Myaung villages.
According to the parallel civilian National Unity Government (NUG), Myanmar’s military has committed at least 32 massacres of civilians throughout the country since seizing power on February 1, 2021.