Junta bombs villages in Hpakant
A dozen bodies were found near a village in Kani County, Sagaing region on Friday, providing further evidence of atrocities committed by regime forces operating in the area.
The 12 bodies, including that of a 14-year-old boy, were found in a wooded area near the village of Taung Pauk on the afternoon of July 30, local sources said.
Days earlier, military forces entered Taung Pauk and other neighboring villages and began arresting male residents suspected of being involved in the anti-coup resistance movement.
A search team was then formed to locate the detained villagers, all of whom appear to have been tortured and murdered on the day of their arrest.
âThe bodies were badly bruised. They had also started to decompose, to the point that you couldn’t pick them up anymore. They were killed on the 26th or 27th, so it was understandable, âsaid a local activist who spoke to members of the search group.
Some of the bodies had been kept in a burnt down hut and were covered with a sheet, he added.
The 12 victims were identified as villagers who were detained by the army at the time of their deaths.
Two were from Kho Twin village and seven, including the 14-year-old, were from Thayet Taw, another village in the region. The other three were residents of Kani town who were staying with relatives in Thayet Taw.
None of the bodies were taken for burial because the military is still active in the area, local residents told Myanmar Now.
This is the third time in less than a month that bodies have been found dumped near villages in Kani township. In total, at least 40 have been discovered so far, most of them showing signs of torture.
On July 11 and 12, the bodies of 15 people were found strewn in a forest near Yin, a village that had been raided with several others the day before.
At least 13 other bodies were discovered last week near the village of Zee Pin Twin following clashes between the military and the local People’s Defense Forces (PDF).
The massacres appear to be aimed at weakening support for the resistance movement, according to PDF fighters who insist the regime’s brutal tactics are backfiring.
âPeople are joining us now in avenging their deceased loved ones, even if they didn’t want to fight before. The army’s attempt to terrify people into submitting no longer works, âsaid one PDF member who did not want to be named.
Meanwhile, thousands of villagers have been displaced since the second week of July as clashes in Kani continue.
Most have been forced to seek refuge in forested areas over fears that crowding into camps or other villages will lead to dangerous levels of exposure to Covid-19 amid a recent outbreak of the disease.
âWe cannot create camps because of the pandemic. But we don’t have proper shelter in the forest, which we need because it has been raining a lot. Aside from Covid-19, the seasonal flu has been quite severe, âsaid one displaced villager.