Elderly villagers killed in junta raids in Magway’s Pakokku Township

Two elderly residents of Magway Region’s Pakokku Township died over the weekend after their villages came under attack by regime forces deployed in the area since last Wednesday.

One of the victims, a 65-year-old man named Soe Han, was still alive when his son found him in the village of Taung Pa Lu on Saturday, a local resident told Myanmar Now.

“They didn’t shoot him, they just beat him until his insides were crushed,” the villager said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“He couldn’t even speak when we found him. He died right there in front of us,” he added.

According to the villager, dozens of other residents who were unable to flee ahead of the raid were also tortured, but none succumbed to their injuries.

The other victim, 75-year-old Aye May, was found dead in the village of Ah Shey Kan Phyu on Sunday. Residents said that she was bedridden after suffering a stroke and had been burned to death after soldiers set fire to her house.

According to locals, a column of around 200 junta forces began raiding some 20 villages along the Yaw River, a tributary of the Ayeyarwady River, in Magway’s Pakokku and Seikphyu townships last Wednesday.

The column, which had come from the Bagan-Nyaung-U area of neighbouring Mandalay Region, was accompanied by around 70 members of the military-backed Pyu Saw Htee militia, sources said.

The junta troops, who were searching for members of resistance forces active in the area, set fire to 157 houses in Taung Pa Lu and also burned down the village’s clinic and community hall, residents  told Myanmar Now.

Another 42 houses were torched in Ah Shey Kan Phyu and 16 in the village of De Phyar, the sources reported.

Arson attacks were less common in Seikphyu Township, where 15 villages were raided, according to a local man.

“No houses were torched in our parts, but they killed and ate our animals and looted our homes,” said the man, who did not want to be named.

“They also burned some motorcycles and forced everyone to gather in the monastery for questioning,” he added.

According to a spokesperson for the Pakokku People’s Defence Force (PDF), the group killed as many as 20 junta troops in an attack on a police station located between the villages of Myit Chay and Kamma last Wednesday.

On May 22, other PDF groups based in the area clashed with a column of around 70 junta troops, killing at least two, resistance sources reported.

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