Junta troops kill three civilians in shootout over arrest of local villager

Three civilians were shot dead in Ayeyarwady Region’s Kyonpyaw Township on Saturday when locals tried to confront troops as they arrested a resident of their village.

U Kyay, an elderly man from Hlay Swel, a village about 5km northeast of Kyonpyaw, was taken into custody early Saturday morning. The regime’s authorities accused U Kyay, who sells bananas to Yangon, of transporting weapons.

After learning of his arrest, about 80 Hlay Swel villagers, some of whom were armed with air guns, gathered outside the village to ambush the soldiers as they left.

However, soldiers acting as sentries spotted the crowd and opened fire, resulting in a shootout between the two sides that lasted about an hour.  

“Some of the regime troops stayed outside the village to keep watch and our group had a head-on clash with them. They shot at us first,” said one villager who spoke to Myanmar Now on condition of anonymity.

“Even though it was a shootout, our guns only had a range of about 200 feet. Most people around here had never heard gunfire before, so they were startled by the sound as the soldiers fired continuously,” he added.

Three men were shot dead before the crowd dispersed as three military vehicles arrived with reinforcements.

“We had three groups—frontline, middle line and last line. The first person who was shot was from the frontline. He was only 20-something years old,” said the Hlay Swel villager.

“The next one was that young man’s father. When his son was shot, he raised his head as he shouted, ‘Don’t leave my son!’ He was shot in the shoulder and then in the head,” he continued.

The third victim was identified as a 19-year-old man from the village.

At the time of reporting, regime soldiers had taken control of Hlay Swel and residents of eight neighbouring villages had fled their homes, according to Kyonpyaw locals.

Saturday’s clash was the first in Kyonpyaw Township, where some locals have started arming themselves with handmade guns to resist the military’s attacks.

Villagers in many rural parts of Myanmar started using hunting rifles and other light weapons in late March to fight back against junta troops using lethal force against peaceful protesters. 

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), at least 845 civilians have been killed by coup regime since it seized power on February 1.


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