Unidentified Bodies Found After Myanmar Junta Troops Occupy Kayah Village

By The Irrawaddy 18 June 2021

Villagers in Kayah State’s Demoso Township found more than a dozen unidentified bodies on returning to their homes in Ngwe Taung village-tract, after fleeing their villages because of fierce clashes between junta troops and civilian resistance fighters.

Kayah State in southeast Myanmar experienced intense fighting between regime soldiers and a combined force of the Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF) and people’s defense forces (PDF) between May 21 and June 12. The heaviest fighting was in Demoso Township.

Most of the corpses found in Ngwe Taung were barely recognizable and villagers helped cremate them in line with Buddhist funeral rituals.

Local residents bury unidentified bodies in Ngwe Taung. (Photo: CJ)

“We have cremated eight bodies in Ngwe Taung. One of the corpses was the father of a Buddhist monk from Htee Pwint Kan Monastery. He took shelter at the monastery for two weeks, but went back home to take care of his cattle. He was shot on his way home. We know nothing about the other bodies,” said one villager.

Residents of Ngwe Taung returned to their homes on June 14 after the fighting ended to find the unidentified bodies in four different wards of the village-tract.

“Locals have taken care of the bodies found near their homes. As far as I know, at least 16 bodies have been found,” another Ngwe Taung resident told The Irrawaddy on Thursday.

Locals said that they assume the bodies found inside wards and villages were civilians and that the ones found on roads and farms were civilian resistance fighters.

However, a member of the Demoso PDF denied that any of the corpses were those of PDF fighters. “They are not PDF fighters. We retrieve every member shot during battle. Those bodies were civilians shot dead by the Myanmar military. In Ngwe Taung, some of the bodies had been partially eaten by dogs. They were the bodies of civilians,” he said.

Despite that, local residents confirmed to The Irrawaddy that almost all the bodies found in Ngwe Taung could not be identified.

Local residents bury unidentified bodies in Ngwe Taung. (Photo: CJ)

Ngwe Taung lies on the Demoso-Loikaw highway. Junta troops reportedly occupied the village-tract after villagers had fled the fighting. The regime’s Light Infantry Battalion 427 and Infantry Battalion 102 are based near the village-tract.

Over 40 houses and shops in Ngwe Taung were broken into and valuables stolen during the military occupation, said villagers. Some buildings and cars were also set on fire. Troops from both sides are still deployed in Demoso Township, although there have been no clashes since June 13.

But locals from Loikaw and Sanpya 6th Mile village, located between Loikaw and Demoso, reported hearing artillery fire on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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