Villagers found six bodies after an attack in Sagaing region’s Yinmarbin township, residents told Radio Free Asia on Tuesday.
More than 80 troops raided Thea Kone village on Saturday, causing residents to flee. But when locals returned to check the area the following day, six people were arrested. They had returned to feed livestock and were captured by soldiers who were hiding in the village.
By Monday, some had been beaten to death, while others were shot, residents said. The victims included Thant Zin Oo, Khant Nay Naing and Than Htike Aung, who were all 17 years old. Maung Lin, Zaw Maung and Zaw Thu were in their 30s.
Zaw Maung was beheaded by the soldiers, according to one resident, who asked to remain anonymous for security reasons.
“When the group left on Oct. 15, locals returned to their village because they thought that the area was clear. But half of the junta forces remained hiding in the village,” he told RFA.
“They arrested [the six] and they were killed before the troops left the village on Oct. 16.
“The corpses were found with bruises and bullet holes from the shooting.”
The bodies were found in a pile at the entrance of Thea Kone village on Monday evening. Residents said they also found a blood-stained wooden stick at the site.
One woman said she was afraid to return home after the killings and was still hiding in the area.
“I’ve been fleeing ahead of the troops since Oct. 14, and it has been four days today. I still haven’t returned home,” she told RFA, asking to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals.
“I am afraid that the column will come back. Those arrested were killed while feeding the cattle they left at home. They were not members of people’s defense forces. They were local civilians.”
Locals said they did not know the reason for the attack. Thea Kone is an agricultural village with just over 600 residents. Calls to Saing Naing Naing Kyaw, Sagaing region’s junta spokesperson, went unanswered.
In July, 14 people were killed in Yinmarbin township in another village raid. The township has been the site of multiple airstrikes and arson attacks by junta forces this year.
More than 4,000 civilians have been killed across the country since the military coup in Feb. 2021. according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.
Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Mike Firn.