Soldiers who came under attack from resistance forces in Tanintharyi Region’s Thayetchaung Township on Friday shot and killed four youths suspected of belonging to the People’s Defence Force (PDF), according to local sources.
The four victims, who ranged in age from 14 to 19, were returning home from a construction site where they were working when they were detained by soldiers, the sources said.
“They were wrongly accused of being PDF members and shot in the head at close range. They were very scared since they were just kids,” said a local man who spoke to Myanmar Now on condition of anonymity.
The incident reportedly occurred shortly after noon on Friday following clashes that broke out several hours earlier in the village of Kin Shey between resistance forces and members of the pro-military Pyu Saw Htee militia group.
When two military trucks carrying reinforcement troops approached the village from the north at around 11:45am, they came under attack from local resistance fighters using handmade explosives, according to a PDF member.
“The construction workers were going home from work when they ran into the military. They were wrongly accused of having perpetrated the bomb attack,” said the PDF member.
The victims were Khant Zin Htwe, 14, Aung Thet Phyo, 17, Ye Zaw Hteik, 17, and a 19-year-old man who could not be identified at the time of reporting.
According to the PDF member, two middle-aged men were also shot by regime forces and had to be hospitalised.
After the initial attack—which is believed to have injured four junta troops—two more military trucks arrived and soldiers began making arrests, he added.
A local resident told Myanmar Now that the soldiers fired a number of shots as they went through the village interrogating its inhabitants. At least one person was taken away with his hands tied behind his back, he added.
Kin Shey is located about 18 miles northeast of the town of Thayetchaung in Tanintharyi’s Dawei District. Many of those living there have already fled due to security concerns, residents said.
The Pyu Saw Htee group that attempted to enter the village on Friday was accused by locals of beating and detaining a monk and four other civilians, including two women, in the nearby village Saw Phyar in early October.
Local resistance groups, as well as Brigade 4 of the Karen National Liberation Army, have been active in fighting junta forces in Thayetchaung’s Taung Pyauk region since the shadow National Unity Government declared the start of a “resistance war” in September.
According to local media reports, more than 4,000 civilians have been displaced in Tanintharyi’s Dawei, Myeik, Tanintharyi, Yebyu and Palaw townships since the fighting began.