Myanmar junta soldiers and pro-regime Pyu Saw Htee militia killed at least eight residents of a Sagaing Region village over a four-day period, according to villagers and the local people’s administrative body.
A combined force of 70 troops assigned to Light Infantry Division 33 from the Shwebo basic military training school and Pyu Saw Htee militia raided Ah Lal Sho Village, Khin-U Township on December 28, said villagers.
Junta forces arrested at least 17 people on December 28. On the following day, battalion 3 of the Shwebo People Defence Force (PDF) launched an attack on the military regime forces along with all the other PDFs in Khin-U Township.
Clashes continued until the evening of January 1, when junta forces retreated. Resistance fighters were able to enter Ah Lai Sho Village on January 2.
“When we entered the village we found eight dead residents: two women and six men. One middle-aged man’s body had been burned and a 70-year-old man was found buried in a waterproof fabric,” said U Tun Win Aung, a leader of Khin-U Township’s People’s Administrative Body.
He added that the details of the dead are still being verified and so they can’t be named as yet.
Ah Lal Sho is a large village located between the Shwebo basic military training school and a military outpost that guards the Zee Kone sugar factory, which is owned by the Myanmar military conglomerate Myanma Economic Corporation.
The village has a thousand houses and over 4,000 residents, most of whom fled on December 28, said villagers.
“Our village strongly supports the revolution. Junta troops have been warning us for a couple of months that they will kill all supporters of the revolution and torch their homes,” said a 40-year-old Ah Lai Sho villager who is now sheltering in a village in Kantbalu Township.
Three of the dead villagers were brothers and were found near the entrance to the village. Two women in their 40s and two men in their 20s were found dead from gunshots in the middle of the village. The 70-year-old victim was found buried inside the village.
A PDF fighter said that the 70-year-old may have been tortured before being killed, as there were bad injuries to his face and body.
“At first, we planned to cremate the dead bodies today after calling back all their relatives. But we weren’t able to do it, as we had to leave the village early this morning as junta troops were returning to the village,” said the PDF fighter.
Residents who fled Ah Lai Sho said that junta forces had planned to seize the village and make into a regime stronghold by building bunkers and trenches around the village.
“Because the PDFs fought back strongly, they [regime forces] had to fall back on Sunday. But we heard that they are now coming back with more troops,” said a villager.
All the eight victims killed in the village were among the 17 people arrested by junta troops on December 28. The fate of the other nine detainees remains unknown.
“I think the other people detained might have also been killed, although we have not found their bodies yet. But I guess that their bodies might have been burned along with the dozens of houses torched in the village. We are unable to examine the remains of the homes right now,” said U Tun Win Aung from the Khin-U Township Administrative Body.