A series of military raids last week in and around the village of Hpalanpin in Sagaing Region’s Pale Township left at least 17 people dead, according to local resistance authorities.
The attacks, which began last Tuesday, were carried out as part of a “rescue” mission to free prisoners held by anti-regime forces active in the area, including the wife of an army captain.
However, most of those who were killed were among those being detained by the resistance forces, said Zaw Htet, the chair of the Pale Township People’s Administration Team.
“Some had their throats slit and some were shot in the head. None of them were killed in battle. They were all captured and tortured before they were killed. That’s what their injuries suggest. Even the prisoners were tortured before they were killed,” he told Myanmar Now.
According to Zaw Htet, 10 of the victims were prisoners, including two police privates, while only three were resistance fighters. The others were civilians, including a grade 9 student, and an unidentified individual believed to be a junta soldier.
He added that most of the prisoners were criminal suspects facing a variety of charges, including theft and rape.
All of the bodies except one were found near the local administration office where the prisoners were held, according to a member of a local defence team.
The regime airlifted around 80 commandos into the area to carry out the initial attack on Tuesday. Helicopters were also deployed two days later to clear the way for the troops to leave.
Residents said that the regime forces also burned down six houses in Hpalanpin and another four in the neighbouring village of Thae Pyin Kyel during the three days that they were in the area.
People living in several villages were forced to flee the attacks, according to locals.
“We can’t even eat or sleep properly now, as we know that we always have to be ready to run at a moment’s notice,” said one local man who did not want to be named.