Killings in Mandalay’s Natogyi Township linked to Thwe Thout

Resistance sources in Mandalay Region’s Natogyi Township say that five men who were found dead on Tuesday appear to have been victims of the pro-junta terror group Thwe Thout.

The badly mutilated bodies of the men, who were arrested by uniformed soldiers late Monday night, were discovered at two different locations, according to Twantay, a spokesperson for the Natogyi People’s Defence Force (PDF).

One had been dumped near a public rest stop just west of the town of Natogyi, while the other four were found some 5km to the east at the intersection of the Natogyi-Myittha highway and a road leading to the village of Htan Gwa, he said.

“The killers put lanyards that said Kyaukpadaung Thwe Thout on the bodies,” he told Myanmar Now, citing witnesses.

“Some of the bodies were decapitated and some had their throats slashed. Those who saw the bodies said that they had multiple cuts and gashes, but no bullet wounds,” he added.

The five victims were identified as Natogyi residents Kyaw San, 55, Hla Soe, 56, and Thein Lwin, 47, and Htan Gwa villagers Kyaw Min, 42, and Zin Min, 38.

“None of them had anything to do with the PDF. They were just ordinary civilians. And yet they were all dragged away by soldiers and killed by Thwe Thout,” said Twantay.

He added that this was the first incident in Natogyi involving Thwe Thout, a self-styled vigilante group that emerged earlier this year.

According to Twantay, regime forces have been making large numbers of arrests in the area since last Thursday, when the Natogyi PDF launched an attack on the home of a junta-appointed administrator in Pyaw Byei, a village west of Natogyi.

No deaths were reported in that assault, but seven weapons were seized, he said.

“They can’t track us down, so they just do this to instil fear in people so that they don’t dare to support or fund us,” said Twantay.

Since late April, when Thwe Thout launched “Operation Red”—a campaign to “annihilate” anti-junta forces—its members have been abducting and murdering supporters of the ousted National League for Democracy government and other regime opponents around the country.

While most of its victims have been in Mandalay Region, attacks have also been reported in Naypyitaw and Yangon, Bago and Tanintharyi regions.

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