Explosion kills wife of guerilla leader in Sagaing after soldiers capture and kill villagers

The dead bodies of two villagers were found floating in the Chindwin River in Sagaing Region this week, shortly after soldiers travelling by boat detained several people in the area, local defence forces have told Myanmar Now.  

The two victims from the village of Kin in Kani Township–51-year-old San Aung and 25-year-old Chan Thar–were found in the river on Monday, hours after eight military boats left the village, while a third person was found alive and rescued. 

Kyaw Lin, 36, was fished out of the river and survived despite suffering multiple stab wounds. “I think he was tortured while being interrogated,” said a local man who would like to remain anonymous.

Kyaw Lin’s wife, 37-year-old Aye Soe, is among four others who were captured by the sailors and are still missing. The other three are Min Min, 38, Kyaw Thu Myint, 35, and Maung Maung Win, 53. 

The soldiers may have extracted information about local defence forces from the captives and used it to plant a bomb at the house of a guerilla leader, a resistance fighter told Myanmar Now. 

Several Myanmar military boats came under attack by an alliance of anti-junta guerillas on January 22 as they entered Kani Township. Three boats were damaged by the guerrillas’ artillery and gun fire and had to return to land for repairs, the guerillas said. 

The attacks significantly slowed the boats’ advance, forcing them to take 10 days to cover a stretch of river that should have taken them one and a half days to sail, said the groups, which are called the Golden Triangle Force, Mway Pin Taung, B.21 and KLG. 

The guerillas posted videos of the attacks to Facebook.

The day before the attacks began, one junta vessel passed through Kani and arrived in neighbouring Mingin Township. 

Several residents and local defence force members said junta forces attacked villages along the river. 

On January 22, soldiers burned down 11 houses and shot dead a 30-year-old man in Kani’s eastern Muhtaw village, locals told Myanmar Now. The next day eight more houses and a rice mill burned in Natgyi, which neighbours Muhtaw, while other properties were looted.

The morning after the villagers were captured in Kin, a bomb went off at the house of a local guerilla leader, killing his wife, Nang Wai Mar. 

A relative of the woman, who goes by the name Pan is the battalion commander of B.21, said the junta’s forces planted the bomb behind a cupboard in the house after somehow finding out that it was the home of a guerilla leader. 

“They might have extracted the information from the people they managed to capture,” said Pan.  

A photograph of the aftermath of the explosion showed a pool of blood surrounded by debris and kitchenware. 

Nang Wai Mar, 39, had been raising funds for and supporting local defence forces since early last year, said Pan. As well as her husband, she leaves behind two sons aged 18 and 10 and a 16-year-old daughter. 

Junta officials could not be reached for comment. 

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