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Six bodies found in Sagaing Region village following military raid

Locals say they have been unable to bury the bodies of residents they found dead around Kar Paung Kya village in Sagaing Region’s Taze Township following a sustained military raid on the community. 

Junta troops most recently stormed the village on August 26, causing locals to flee into the nearby forests for safety. Villagers found six bodies after sneaking back into Kar Paung Kya on Sunday while it was still occupied by the military. 

The bodies of three men were found near the village’s cemetery—60-year-old Phoe Gyi, 37-year-old Kyaw Naing Lin, and 25-year-old Lwin Moe who was shot dead on the day of the raid. At the time of reporting, they were still unburied, an eyewitness told Myanmar Now. 

Further details about Phoe Gyi and Kyaw Naing Lin or how the two died is not yet known.

Two more men were found dead within the village itself, with gunshot sounds to the head: 40-year-old Zaw Min Lay and 30-year-old Hein Zar who was taken into junta custody on Thursday, according to the eyewitness. 

Villagers managed to bury Zaw Min Lay’s body on Sunday afternoon, but have been unable to retrieve Hein Zar. 

Another man, who was not immediately identifiable due to advanced decomposition, was found near a brick kiln in the western part of the village. He also has not yet been buried. 

“I think they were all killed on the same day—on the 26th, when they were arrested. The bodies were so rotten that we couldn’t even touch them properly. We had to hold our noses just to carry the bodies,” the witness told Myanmar Now.

Locals say fear of the 100 Myanmar army troops still stationed in the village has stopped them from returning and burying the men. 

The same soldiers also shot and killed 30-year-old Moe Swe Oo, a Kar Paung Kya villager in hiding, on August 27, and wounded his sister. 

Eighty of the soldiers occupying Kar Paung Kya also raided the village of Leik Chan, 10 miles to the West, on Sunday evening. 

“We didn’t notice them ahead of time, as they had changed into plainclothes before they entered the village and they started shooting right away,” a Leik Chan resident said. 

Thirty-year-old local man Myo Win was shot dead at his house and another man was arrested in the assault. 

A body found in the village in the afternoon of August 29 (Supplied)

Locals have said that the entire population of Leik Chan was forced to flee, including Buddhist monks who had been staying there. 

“The soldiers started shooting at the head monk and some novices as they tried to flee to another village. They even used heavy weapons. The community hall at the other side of the river got burnt to ashes,” the Leik Chan resident said, adding that the monks had made it to safety. 

After the troops left Leik Chan, locals found shops and homes ransacked, eyewitnesses said. 

The Sunday evening attack marked the first time that Leik Chan had been raided by the junta, but locals claim that neighbouring Kar Paung Kya has been targeted some seven times. 

Locals have speculated that the raids were carried out after informants reported to the military council that there had been members of the anti-junta People’s Defence Force in the two villages. 

Some 800 families from Kar Paung Kya, 200 from Leik Chan and more than 3,000 residents from other villages in Taze Township, including Ywar Thit Kone and Aing Yar, have been displaced by the military’s violence. 

The junta has not released any information on the raids or the murders in Kar Paung Kya. All calls to their spokesperson went unanswered. 

(Editor’s Note: Kar Paung Kya locals told Myanmar Now on September 5 that they were unable to find three of the six bodies by the time they once again returned to the village to help bury them. They could only bury the bodies of Hein Zar, Zaw Min Lay, and another unidentifiable man. The body of Moe Swe Oo who was shot dead outside the village on 27 August was also buried, they said.)

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