Boy, 8, killed by junta artillery fire in northern Myanmar 

An eight-year-old boy died when he was hit by a Myanmar military artillery shell in Sagaing Region on Tuesday, while four others including a teenage girl were injured, witnesses told Myanmar Now. 

The boy was among a group of displaced people who were taking shelter in the village of Htan Be Hla in Ye-U Township when junta soldiers arrived and began firing heavy and light weapons. 

The displaced people tried to flee upon hearing news of the soldiers’ arrival, but were forced to take cover instead when the barrage of gun and artillery fire started. 

“The whole village filled with smoke and we couldn’t run anymore, so we just ducked,” the mother of the boy who died told Myanmar Now. She and her son, along with several other people, took cover beneath a tamarind tree.  

A shell then landed near the tree, killing her child and injuring the four others, including a 13-year-old girl and a 50-year-old man, she said. 

The soldiers fired their weapons for about 30 minutes, then they detained 10 men from the village and tortured them on suspicion of being members of the People’s Defence Force (PDF). 

They released eight of the captives and took two with them when they left the village later that day. 

A 35-year-old man who was among those tortured said the soldiers held the captives’ heads under water and beat them. 

“They dunked our heads in the muddy swamp water and kicked and stepped on our heads with their boots,” he said. “They also hit our heads with their rifle handles and cut our throats lightly with their knives.” 

The two men who were taken from the village are Aung Phyo Tun, 27, who was shot in the arm, and Sein Cho, 50, he added. The survivors who were released are seriously injured and receiving treatment, he added. 

“I would like for people to stay away from the military so that they can avoid facing a similar fate as us,” said the man. “We couldn’t even look up at them, let alone challenge them.”

The column of soldiers responsible for the attack arrived in Ye-U Township from neighbouring Depayin on Monday and raided several villages before reaching Htan Be Hla, including Zee Taw Gyi, Chaung Nar Ywar Thit, Pauk Taw and Chaung Son.

The soldiers headed to the town of Ye-U via Hnaw Kone village after leaving Htan Be Hla, a member of a local anti-junta armed group said. 

On Wednesday the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners said the junta had now killed at least 1,700 civilians since last year’s coup. 

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