Myanmar junta troops murdered ten civilians, including a teenage boy, after detaining them last Thursday and Friday in several villages in Chin State’s Matupi Township.
A total of 11 civilians were detained on January 6 and 7 near Kihlun and LongHlaw villages on the Matupi-Hahka road. The bodies of ten of them have since been recovered.
Clashes between the Chinland Defense Force-Matupi (CDF-Matupi) and the Myanmar military have intensified in the area since the New Year.
“The victims had been tortured and killed when we found their bodies on Friday and on the weekend in Kacae, Tibaw, Kihlun and Longhtaw villages. They were taken to be human shields and were killed at different times and in different places,” said Ko Nway Oo Lin, a spokesperson for the CDF-Matupi.
The victims were traveling from one village to another, Ko Nway Oo Lin added, citing other villagers who saw them being arrested. One man on his motorbike was killed on the spot on January 7.
“Their hands were tied behind their backs. We found cuts and bruises and injuries from them being hit with rifle butts as well as gunshots to their bodies. A 13-year-old boy had had his throat cut,” said the spokesperson.
Ko Nway Oo Lin added that the CDF-Matupi was continuing to search for the one remaining villager out of the 11 detained, although they feared that he was dead.
One of the victims was Salai Tui Dim, the founder and former editor-in-chief of local news agency Khonumthung News.
Khonumthung Media Group condemned the junta’s atrocities against the innocent civilians including “forcing them to be human shields” and urged the junta to stop such extra-judicial killings and inhumane acts.
Tensions remained high in the area on Monday with military regime forces being reinforced from both the ground and air.
Over 4,500 people from at least seven villages in Matupi Township have been forced to flee their homes due to the fighting and the arrival of junta reinforcements.
Locals and the Chin Human Rights Organization highlighted the fact that a convoy of around 90 military trucks and armored vehicles was on its way to Matupi from Magwe Region’s Kyaukhtu to reinforce troops from the Southern Tactical Operations Command operating in the area.
Fighting has intensified in Matupi since the New Year. CDF-Matupi and junta forces clashed on January 3 on the Matupi-Paletwa road as regime reinforcements traveled from Falam and Mindat, according to CDF-Matupi
At least eight junta soldiers, including an officer, were killed in the clashes. One CDF-Matupi fighter was injured in a mine blast. Junta forces also lost one of their base camps on January 5.
More military regime soldiers died on January 6, but CDF-Matupi said they could not offer more details as fighting was continuing to rage.
Mountainous Chin State in western Myanmar has been restive since April, when locals began using traditional and homemade weapons to fight junta forces. The military regime has responded with atrocities such as the killing of civilians, burning and looting homes and artillery strikes on towns including Matupi, Mindat and Thantlang.
CDF-Matupi said that although the junta was employing air support and had more weapons and soldiers, they have vowed to carry on fighting until the military dictatorship is rooted out in Chin State and the rest of the country and a federal democratic state had been achieved.
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