Magway villagers forced to join Pyu Saw Htee surrender to PDF

More than two dozen recent graduates of a training program for the pro-junta Pyu Saw Htee militia surrendered to anti-regime forces in Magway Region last week, according to resistance sources.

A battalion commander from the Myaing People’s Defence Force (PDF) told Myanmar Now that 27 residents of the village of Zee Pyar in Pauk Township decided to flee last Wednesday to avoid being forced to remain in the Pyu Saw Htee.

“They fled to us because they’d been forced to guard the village and they didn’t want to do it anymore. They simply didn’t want to serve the junta,” said the battalion commander.

The move came two days after the Myaing PDF and a village defence team attacked junta forces stationed at a Pyu Saw Htee training camp in Zee Pyar on October 3, killing 17.

The battalion commander said that the 27 villagers, who included 12 women, had been ordered to protect the village after the raid, despite having received just five days of training.

“The fresh ‘graduates’ were handed swords and bottles of acid and forced to act as security guards,” he said, adding that the villagers had been moved to a secure location near the Chinese border at their request.

He also said that 53 Pyu Saw Htee members who were captured alive during the raid were being held in two separate places and had not been mistreated.

There were an estimated 60 junta soldiers stationed in Zee Pyar at the time of the attack, and more have since arrived as reinforcements, he added.

According to the PDF battalion commander, the villagers who escaped said that the soldiers took away residents’ SIM cards and forced them to provide rice and other food.

Myanmar Now was unable to interview the villagers for this report.

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