Four locals including a monk killed by junta forces in eastern Bago Region

Soldiers and allies occupying Pu Zun Myaung village have reportedly looted properties, terrorised civilians and blocked roads, making it impossible for villagers to travel and sell their goods

Junta forces executed four local people including a mentally disabled man and a monk while stationed in a village in Bago Region’s Nyaunglebin Township, local sources said.

Three of the victims were identified as Min Min and Oo Gyi, who were both residents of Pu Zun Myaung in their 40s, and Phoe Htoo, another resident in his 50s with mental disabilities. The name of the fourth victim, a monk, is unconfirmed. 

According to local people, fighting broke out between resistance and junta forces—including junta-allied Pyu Saw Htee militia members, police, and firemen as well as soldiers—near Pu Zun Myaung in the last week of September. The clashes ultimately forced the PDF to withdraw from the village. 

Locals claimed the PDF had maintained a presence in the village for close to one month before the junta forces came.

“They fought against the junta forces for five days in a row and eventually withdrew as they ran out of ammunition. Some of those who stayed in the village and one villager who tried to get back in were murdered as well,” a local man in his 40s said. 

Myanmar Now has been unable to determine the junta forces’ motives for killing the civilians, and the military council has released no statements about the fighting in the area.

Having pushed the resistance forces out of Pu Zun Myaung, the junta forces proceeded to take control of the roads leading into the village on September 29. After fresh reinforcements arrived last Sunday, the junta forces carried out arson attacks, setting fire to houses in the village over the next two days, locals said. 

Junta personnel killed the monk and one of the civilian men on September 29. They killed Phoe Htoo and the fourth victim two days later, according to locals.

The Karen National Union (KNU) reported the deaths of Min Min and Oo Gyi on Sunday and Monday, also claiming that a third villager captured by the junta had managed to escape.

There was no further fighting after the junta forces took over Pu Zun Myaung, but soldiers occasionally fired off artillery and small arms to frighten the villagers, according to the local man who spoke to Myanmar Now. 

“The military fired gunshots and heavy artillery rounds when farmers from another village came out to check on their fields, so no one dares to go out anymore,” the local man said. 

“The military, along with village administrators, military informants and their comrades are now looting houses and driving away with the loot in their cars. They even butchered cattle and sold the meat,” he continued, adding that a landmine placed near the village entrance by the military had killed a cow. 

Wai Yan, a spokesperson for the Bago Region People’s Defence Forces (PDF), told Myanmar Now that resistance fighters were still present around Pu Zun Myaung village and trying to regain control of the area.

The Resistance forces commanded by the publicly mandated National Unity Government, including the Spring Warriors Column, PDF Battalion 3702, Royal Peacock Column and Fire Dragon PDF, are currently active in the areas near Pu Zun Myaung.

“We have to go through Pu Zun Myaung to get to Nyaunglebin and buy and sell our goods, but now that the military have blocked the roads, there’s no way to get there,” said the local man who spoke to Myanmar Now. 

“We’re still able to go to Shwe Kyin but they don’t allow us to transport rice, oil, salt and medicine anymore. It’s a really hard time for the villagers,” he said, adding that at least five villages in the area had been affected by the junta’s obstruction of the roads.

The Spring Warriors Column claims to have destroyed an excavator on Monday that junta forces were using to dig up the roads near Pu Zun Myaung and render them impassable. 

According to resistance sources, a large number of junta soldiers including an officer were killed during the five-day battle for Pu Zun Myaung that started on September 27, and four resistance fighters were also injured in the clash. The casualties from the battle have yet to be confirmed independently. 

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