Residents of a Sagaing region village say they found the bodies of seven unidentified men when they returned after a junta raid.
Troops carrying out raids on the border with Shan state entered four villages in Katha township between Feb. 11 and 14, burning around 700 houses, locals told RFA.
When some residents of Inn Gyi village returned Wednesday they found the bodies in two spots near a lake.
“I don’t know who these villagers are,” said a local who didn’t want to be named for fear of reprisal.
“They had been brought by the [military] column and shot dead. I don’t know where the troops brought them from. The dead men were wearing sandals and were not soldiers.”
He said he they could be civilians from a village in Shan state who had been arrested during recent raids there.
A People’s Defense Force member, who also declined to be identified, said a junta column left Ngar Oe village in Shan’s Mabein township on Feb. 9 and continued burning villages across the border in Sagaing region whilst fighting a three-day battle with the pro-democracy militia.
Around 2,000 residents of the Katha township villages said they only dared to return home on Thursday because fires were still burning and the junta troops had planted mines.
Nearly 43,300 homes in Sagaing region have been burned down by junta troops in the two years following the Feb. 1, 2021 coup, according to independent research group Data for Myanmar.
Almost 2,994 civilians have been killed by the junta since the 2021 coup, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma) said in its daily update on Wednesday.
RFA called the Sagaing region junta spokesperson, Aye Hlaing, seeking comment on the killings and arson attacks but he didn’t answer the phone.
Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Mike Firn.