Myanmar Regime Forces Kill Four Villagers in Mandalay Region

By The Irrawaddy 2 March 2023

Myanmar regime troops and pro-junta militia killed four villagers including a woman on Tuesday in Myingyan Township, Mandalay Region, according to activist groups.

On Tuesday night around 10:30pm, regime soldiers and pro-junta Pyu Saw Htee militia arrived on five motorbikes at Lay Ywar Sone Village, where over 20 junta forces have been stationed since late 2021.

Four Lay Ywar Sone residents were abducted by the junta force: Ko Soe Thu Aung, Ko Phoe Aye, Ko Maung Maung and female villager Ma Khin Yu Mon, said Myingyan People’s Strike Committee.

The bodies of the four villagers were subsequently discovered by locals and relatives of the victims. They had been shot dead and their bodies abandoned separately on the roadside along the irrigation channel outside Lay Ywar Sone Village.

Citing a local resistance leader, local media reported that the four victims were all supporters of the ousted National League for Democracy (NLD) and were actively involved in the anti-dictatorship movement.

However, The Irrawaddy was unable to confirm independently if the four victims were NLD supporters.

The murders followed the assassination on February 21 of the Lay Ywar Sone Village Pyu Saw Htee militia leader, Win Soe, by the Natogyi Regional Defense Force (NRDF).

The militia leader was the father of an army officer and armed with an automatic rifle, according to NRDF.

Ko Landon, an NRDF spokesperson, told The Irrawaddy on Thursday that they had to assassinate the militia leader as he was leading military regime soldiers on raids to nearby villages and was oppressing and abusing residents in the area.

“The murders [of the Lay Ywar Sone villagers] are the consequence of our assassination of the pro-regime militia leader. Our whole group are deeply upset for the killing of innocent civilians,” he said.

The NRDF spokesperson also challenged junta troops and militia saying: “Do come and catch us if you can instead of arbitrarily killing innocent civilians.”

Six NLD members and two other villagers were also arrested and killed by Pyu Saw Htee militia on December 8, 2022 in Min Ywar Village in neighboring Natogyi Township.

The victims, aged between 17 and 63, were shot dead between Min Ywar and Ku Kone villages.

During the December incident, junta forces also shot dead U Aung Myint, a member of the military’s proxy Union Solidarity and Development Party, and his 17-year-old son Maung Kaung Sat Naing after they came out of their house to see what was happening.

In October 2022, regime forces killed at least 11 NLD members and supporters within two days in Natogyi, Taung Tha, Nyaung-U and Kyaukse Townships in Mandalay Region.

Shortly after the murders, the pro-regime terror group Thwe Thout, which accompanied the junta raids, publicly claimed responsibility for the killings of the NLD members.

Pyu Saw Htee militia also killed a family of eight including three children who were NLD supporters at their homes in Kantbalu Township, Sagaing Region on January 15.

A militia member subsequently captured by a local resistance group admitted that his militia group was responsible for the killings.