Bodies of two missing civilians found murdered in Demoso Township

The bodies of two missing men were found in a Demoso Township village in Kayah (Karenni) State on Tuesday in an area recently occupied by junta troops, according to a local social welfare group. 

The body of one man was found near a football field on Tuesday evening, and the other discovered in a septic tank that was still under construction, both in Dawkhalaiklin village.

Maung Htoo, the father of the first victim—20-year-old Kyaw Lin Paing—was only able to identify the body as belonging to his son because of the clothes he was wearing and the motorcycle parked nearby. 

He had been missing since leaving home on September 22 along with his cousin, 23-year-old Hsu Reh, to buy supplies in a market in the Kayah State capital. 

“He was heading towards Loikaw to get supplies for Hsu Reh’s three-month-old baby,” Maung Htoo said. 

Kyaw Lin Paing had been staying in Hpehlar village in the same township after fleeing his home in Demoso town due to the ongoing clashes between the military and the resistance, according to his father. 

His family buried him immediately after his body was found, and is also planning to hold a funeral for Hsu Reh on Friday, as he has also not been heard from since leaving home last week. 

“We have decided to assume that he shared the same fate as they were travelling together,” another relative of Hsu Reh’s said.

Both Kyaw Lin Paing and Hsu Reh were civilians and not members of the People’s Defence Forces (PDFs) active in the area, their family members told Myanmar Now. 

The other body discovered in Dawkhalaiklin was identified as Lee Reh, a 26-year-old resident of Hteehpoekaloe village, also in Demoso Township, according to a local source. 

“I think he was heading to Loikaw to get supplies. He’s a regular civilian, not a PDF member. I think he ran into the military while getting supplies for his child,” the local said. 

Lee Reh went missing after he left for Loikaw on the same day as Kyaw Lin Paing and Hsu Reh. His body, which showed signs of torture, was found on September 28 and he was buried immediately in Dawkhalaiklin. 

“He was found in the septic tank with his hands tied behind his back. He had a blindfold on his face. There were slash wounds on his neck,” a volunteer with the social welfare group said. “His family reported him as missing on September 22, so I went to the village to check if [the body] belonged to him.” 

Because most of the residents of the villages around Dawkhalaiklin previously fled their homes due to the intensifying civil war, there were no witnesses to the murders of Kyaw Lin Paing and Lee Reh.

However, the sources who Myanmar Now spoke to confirmed that military units had been occupying empty villages in the area including Dawkhalaiklin. 

Myanmar Now tried to contact the Demoso police station and the junta’s information department regarding the murders of the two men, but all calls went unanswered. 

A 50-year-old ethnic Karenni villager known as Ta Oo also was killed by junta troops in southern Shan State’s Pekhon Township on Tuesday after they shot him in the chest while he was herding cows near the railroad outside Kathe village, according to a member of the Pekhon PDF.  

Last weekend, on September 25 and 26, two civilians were killed and 30 houses burned down by Myanmar army troops during two days of battles with local resistance forces in Demoso, which has been under occupation by around 200 troops from the coup regime since last Friday.

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