At least 30 killed in Depayin following junta raid on local village

Junta troops have killed more than 30 people, including local resistance fighters, in Sagaing Region’s Depayin Township since raids in the area began on Friday, according to local sources.

The Depayin People’s Defence Force (PDF), an armed group formed to resist crackdowns by the coup regime’s forces, announced on social media on Saturday that about 150 soldiers came to the village of Satpyarkyin at around 6am on Friday. 

When residents there and in nearby villages started to flee, junta soldiers opened fire with heavy weapons, the group said in its statement. 

This set off a clash between PDF members and regime forces that lasted until around 10am. Fighting later resumed at around 2pm and continued for four hours, according to the statement.

By Saturday afternoon, 31 bodies, including both PDF members and local civilians, were retrieved, according to a Depayin resident.

“Those who went back to collect the bodies reported that there were a total of 31,” said the local, who added that it was unclear how many of the dead were actually involved in the fighting.

However, according to the statement released by the Depayin PDF, 27 of those killed were members of the group.

The PDF said it initially counted 18 dead and at least 10 injured, but later found the bodies of nine more of its members on Saturday afternoon. 

The group also claimed that four regime soldiers were killed and seven injured in the clashes.

There were also reports that six injured members of the local PDF were shot at close range after the fighting on Friday. Their bodies were piled inside the compound of a monastery, said a Satpyarkyin local who asked not to be named due to security concerns.

“One was shot in the leg but still alive. The troops captured people like him who couldn’t run and shot them all in the head at close range,” the local told Myanmar Now.

About 10,000 residents of 11 villages in Depayin Township have fled their homes since the raid began early Friday, according to the Satpyarkyin local.

“Everyone fled because the soldiers were raiding not only the villages, but also going into the surrounding forest,” the local told Myanmar Now. “Elderly people are in so much trouble now. Young people are carrying them away in cow carts or on their backs.”

A junta mouthpiece, the Global New Light of Myanmar, reported on Sunday that “armed terrorists” ambushed soldiers patrolling in Depayin, Mingin, Kawlin and Htigyaing townships in Sagaing on Friday. One soldier was killed and six were injured in the attack, the report said.

It added that the local resistance groups had to retreat after retaliation by the junta troops and “four mortars and six percussion lock firearms” were confiscated during the clash.

Fighting also broke out between local PDF members and junta troops in mid-June following raids on villages in the area. The deaths of a former local administrator in Inpin and two daughters of a junta-allied administrator in the village of Kyi sparked the raids.

After the attacks, junta troops raided the villages of Satpyarkyin and Boke, two miles west of Kyi, and fatally shot a local. 

Since April, the junta’s troops have been deployed frequently to villages in Depayin, Yinmarbin, Kani, Taze, Ayadaw and Mingin townships, which have seen strong resistance to the February 1 military coup.

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