The bodies of seven men abducted by junta soldiers from their village Mandalay Region’s Ngazun Township on Saturday were found over the weekend and on Monday in two locations in the surrounding area, locals said.
Villagers from Yae Zin, which is located along the banks of the Ayeyarwady River in the resistance stronghold of Myingyan District, discovered the remains of four of the men outside the community the same night they were captured: Sein Maung Myint, 62; Sein Aung, 50; Kyaw Tin, 43; and Swe Lin Aung, 37.
Two days later, they also located the remaining three—Myo Naing, 38, and Naing Win Swe and Thu Kha, whose ages were not confirmed at the time of reporting—five miles from Yae Zin, south of the village of Ku La.
The men were arrested during a military raid on Yae Zin after a member of the junta-backed Pyu Saw Htee militia was reportedly killed in the area on the night of December 23, a local man told Myanmar Now, speculating that the murder of the men was an act of retaliation.
“The strategy of [the junta] is to threaten the public by killing people: it is to instill fear,” a villager said,” a local man told Myanmar Now.
Citing accounts from other villagers, he said that members of the military took the bodies to Ngazun hospital on the days that they were found.
Locals explained that the military council had compiled a list of area residents who participated in or led anti-dictatorship protests following the February 2021 coup, or who supported the ousted National League for Democracy party in the 2020 general election.
These individuals are typically arrested as “suspects” when an attack against military or Pyu Saw Htee figures occurs, they said.
Myanmar Now was unable to contact the families of the victims at the time of reporting.
Officers at the Ngazun Township police station were not available for comment.
Pro-junta media outlets recently reported on their Telegram channels that four men were found dead with gunshot wounds on the side of the road outside of Yae Zin village. The news was accompanied by photos of the first four victims found by the villagers, with blood visible on their chests and bruises to their faces.
Many residents of Yae Zin, which is home to hundreds of households, fled the community after the recent murders. However, junta soldiers advancing through Ngazun Township reportedly raided the village again this week, capturing several local women who had stayed behind. Further information about the attack was not available at the time of reporting.
Myanmar army troops also reportedly dumped the body of a 30-year-old man with a knife wound to the abdomen near a creek located at the border between Myingyan and Ngazun townships on December 19, a local source said.
A large number of Myanmar army troops have been deployed to Ngazun, where the China-backed Myotha Industrial Zone is located.