Myanmar junta troops accused of killing civilians and destroying oil wells in Magway

The leader of a resistance group in Magway Region’s Myaing Township says that junta troops active in the area have killed six civilians and set fire to around 100 oil wells in recent days.

Lat Yar, the commander of the Myaing People’s Defence Force (PDF), said that six bodies were found in the village of Su Win on Friday morning.

“There were two in the middle of the village, and four more on its western edge. We still don’t know who they were,” he said, adding that injuries on the victims’ bodies suggested that their heads and faces had been beaten with military helmets.

He also said that four houses had been set on fire in Su Win, which is near the site of a day-long clash that took place last Tuesday.

Twelve junta soldiers and two PDF members were killed in the fighting, he told Myanmar Now.

According to a spokesperson for the Myaing PDF, the military burned the bodies of the dead soldiers inside the village.

“I was told that they piled up the bodies inside a house and then set it on fire. All that was left of them was some bones,” he said.

The junta soldiers were based in the nearby village of Kyauk Khwat. A column of around 80 reinforcement troops is currently on its way there, said Lat Yar.

Thousands of villagers living in the area have fled since July 2 amid fears of raids by regime forces, according to locals.

The affected villages are Kyauk Khwat, Su Win, Wei Taung, Thayet Kan, Yae Khar, Nei Thet, Tae Gyi, Taung Yoe, Wet Pho, Nyaung Pin Zauk, Mhan Yin, Ma Gyi Kan and Nan Taw Yar, sources said.

Junta troops torched four houses in Su Win, where resistance forces also discovered six dead civilians on July 8 (Supplied)

Most residents of the region make a living by operating hand-dug oil wells, around 100 of which have reportedly been torched since last week in a bid to cut off funding for resistance groups.

Other businesses have also been targeted for the same reason, local residents said.

According to Data for Myanmar, the military has destroyed at least 3,000 houses in Magway Region, including 742 in Myaing Township, since last year’s coup.

Myanmar’s military junta has denied targeting civilians or their property, despite almost daily reports of killings and the destruction of homes and businesses by regime forces.

Reporters invited to attend regular press conferences held by the junta’s spokesperson, General Zaw Min Tun, routinely avoid asking questions about accusations of military atrocities.

Speaking to reporters on July 1, he announced that the regime had plans to create a new civilian “security force” as part of its efforts to “eradicate the PDF.”

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