PDF says six men killed in Mandalay’s Thabeikkyin Township were not resistance fighters

A local PDF spokesperson said the men’s bodies were merely dressed in military uniforms for propaganda purposes

Six men who were killed last week in northern Mandalay Region’s Thabeikkyin Township were not resistance fighters, according to a spokesperson for the Tagaung District People’s Defence Force (PDF).

The spokesperson was responding to photos posted on pro-junta Telegram channels purporting to show PDF members killed by regime forces during a raid on Kyauk Aik, a village near the town of Tagaung on the Ayeyarwady River.

“They killed six civilians, dressed them up in uniforms, and spread false news,” said the spokesperson, noting that no PDF fighters were reported missing after the attack.

“There are no other armed group operating around here, either,” he added.

The army column that carried out the raid was securing passage for a military flotilla that has been travelling up the Ayeyarwady River from Mandalay since July 25.

According to the Tagaung District PDF spokesperson, the column’s use of “excessive force” during the August 4 attack on Kyauk Aik forced the resistance group to retreat without a fight.

The photos posted on the pro-junta Telegram channels show the bodies of six men in military uniforms being lined up. No weapons can be seen near the bodies.

“It appears that they captured and slit the throats of some villagers who couldn’t flee in time,” said the spokesperson.

The identities of the six victims could not be confirmed at the time of reporting.

The military committed a similar action on July 25 in Shan State’s Muse Township, where it put a military uniform on the body of a villager killed in an airstrike for propaganda purposes.

The nine-vessel flotilla that left Mandalay late last month has been attacked repeatedly on its journey towards Kachin State, where it is bringing reinforcements and supplies.

According to resistance sources, it was forced to dock in Tagaung after two of the boats sustained damage.

Some 600 junta troops have been carrying out raids on villages in Tagaung District since fighting with the local PDF chapter began on July 29.

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