Myanmar military shoots, kills elderly civilians during Sagaing raid

The bodies of five people between the ages of 50 and 90 were found in a Shwebo Township village last week following a junta raid on the community, locals said. 

A 70-soldier column arrived in Ma Au Pin—21 miles west of Shwebo town in Sagaing Region—on the afternoon of November 30, shooting into the village and setting fire to homes until 10pm when they departed. Its residents fled across the Mu River to Depayin Township, returning only the next day. 

“Nobody was attacking [the soldiers] but they started raiding the village after firing 30 to 40 heavy artillery shells,” a Ma Au Pin resident told Myanmar Now, adding that they “immediately” started torching houses. 

Four of those who were later found dead had fatal bullet wounds, according to the villagers who discovered their bodies, noting that they had been unable to escape when the military came. 

Three of the individuals—Tin Nyo, 60; Kan Nyein, 55; and Kyaw Oo, 50—appeared to have been shot at close range. 

The aforementioned Ma Au Pin resident said that Kyaw Oo had been shot in the head, speculating that he was executed after his mother, 70-year-old Daw Win, was killed “by one of the military’s random shots” when the troops entered the village. 

“The mother and the son were hiding in their house and Kyaw Oo was likely captured when he came out of hiding after he saw his mother get killed,” the local man said. 

He described two of the victims, Tin Nyo and Kan Nyein, as both having intellectual disabilities. 

“Kan Nyein was homeless, so he ate and slept on the road and carried all his belongings with him in a school bag,” he explained, adding that he was found dead in the bushes. “Even a man like him wasn’t spared. I think they shot him through his mouth, judging by the way that there was a hole in the back of his head.” 

No bullet wound was found on the body of Than Pu, 90, who was hiding in the village’s monastery at the time of the attack and is believed to have died from shock. 

Some 110 of Ma Au Pin’s 400 households were destroyed in the military raid.

“Our village does not have any armed resistance groups or personnel, but we weren’t spared. They just torched houses at random,” said a local who lost his home. “We’ve lost everything that we owned.”

After leaving Ma Au Pin, the junta column advanced to neighbouring Sin Inn village—a half mile east—on the night of November 30, where they reportedly continued the arson attack. 

At the time of reporting, the military was still occupying Sin Inn. 

Additional reporting by Moe Oo.

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