Pregnant woman, her father, and two others executed by junta soldiers at gold mine

The troops accused the mine owner of funding the resistance, then shot him, his daughter and two workers, releasing eight others only after a local monk intervened

(This report contains descriptions depicting the effects of extreme violence, which may be upsetting to some readers. We advise discretion in viewing this content. )

Three men and a woman—who was eight months pregnant—were killed when around 100 junta soldiers raided a gold mine in Sagaing Region’s Pinlebu Township on August 14. 

The mine is located south of Mu Le village, seven miles south of the township’s administrative centre and along the road connecting Pinlebu with Kawlin to the southeast. When the troops arrived, they initially arrested 12 people who were present at the site before executing four individuals for allegedly supporting the resistance movement, according to an officer in the anti-junta Pinlebu People’s Defence Force (PDF). 

The victims were identified as 21-year-old Wyne Wyne, her father Set Hlaing, who owned the gold mine, and two men who were also 21: Shan Lay and Nyi Nyi Aung. 

Nyi Nyi Aung was a local from Mu Le, but Shan Lay reportedly came from neighbouring Banmauk Township. Both were shot dead while operating a bulldozer, the PDF officer said. 

Set Hlaing and his workers had come from Aong Pin village, four miles north of Mu Le, he added. 

“They told the mine owner that they were funding the PDF through the mine and shot both him and his pregnant daughter dead,” the officer told Myanmar Now. “The bulldozer operators were shot dead just on the bulldozer, which was then covered in their blood when we found it.”

The troops appeared to have dumped the bodies in a nearby hut, which they then set on fire. They were charred beyond recognition when members of the PDF found them, which was confirmed in photos of the victims seen by Myanmar Now. 

The officer explained that they realised that one of the victims was pregnant when they discovered her unborn child also among the dead. 

“Wyne Wyne was close to term,” he said. “The child was not touched by the fire but it died.” 

It was a girl, the officer added. 

Eight others—four men and four women—who were detained at the mine were released after the head monk from Sin Le, the village just north of Mu Le, negotiated with the soldiers. 

“They let them go after the monk asked that they spare their lives as a ‘donation,’” the PDF officer said. “The men were beaten before they were released. They were already set to be executed, but they were spared because of the monk’s request. [The soldiers] let them go but they told them that they wouldn’t spare them next time.”

Despite there being no recent clashes in Pinlebu, the PDF officer claimed that the military had been conducting “clearance operations,” or raids on villages, throughout the township.

On August 11, junta troops raided two villages east of Pinlebu town—Kapanote and Kyun Bintha—and set fire to 35 homes. 

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