Myanmar Military Junta Army troops abuse, rob civilian hostages in Mandalay Region

Army troops in the Mandalay Region have been reported for abusing and robbing civilian hostages. 

Sep 23, 2023 - 21:25
Myanmar Military Junta Army troops abuse, rob civilian hostages in Mandalay Region

Army troops in the Mandalay Region have been reported for abusing and robbing civilian hostages. 

According to local sources, this week, soldiers from the junta captured over 60 civilians from a village in Myingyan Township, accusing them of supporting resistance groups and confiscating their valuable possessions, including earrings and mobile phones.

Residents of Ma Gyi Su village described the horrifying events that unfolded. Around 20 soldiers arrived on Wednesday afternoon, firing their guns twice upon arrival, setting a house on fire in the village's south side, and systematically raiding homes. Ultimately, they took more than 60 people hostage and instructed the remaining villagers to gather at the village monastery.

One resident expressed surprise at the raid, as there was no ongoing fighting in the area at the time. According to this individual, the military accused every household in the village of contributing 300,000 kyat per month to the People's Defence Force groups. The villagers vehemently denied this, given their meager means, but the soldiers resorted to beatings and interrogations.

Another villager reported that a majority of those captured and beaten were women, children, or the elderly. The young adult men suffered brutal beatings, resulting in bleeding head wounds. Some women were intimidated into surrendering their earrings by the soldiers who showed them bullets and threatened to take them to an interrogation center.

One witness claimed that the soldiers left behind the oldest captives and children but took around 30 remaining adults with them to use as human shields as they departed Ma Gyi Su. They eventually released the hostages when they reached Ywar Thar Yar village, situated approximately two miles to the north. The junta column reportedly established a base at the Ywar Thar Yar village monastery the day after the raid on Ma Gyi Su.

The villager also noted that some of the soldiers wore uniforms, while others were in plain clothes, and they had raided several other villages in Myingyan Township.

Another villager, who believed the soldiers were from Infantry Battalion 15 based in Myingyan, confirmed that they had beaten and stolen from their civilian captives in Ma Gyi Su. He described how the soldiers made women lie prone on the ground and beat them on their backs with palm leaves, as well as confiscating earrings and expensive mobile phones.

It was revealed that the military frequently forces civilians to accompany them as human shields during raids between villages.

The military council has not issued any public response to reports concerning the behavior of its armed forces. Ma Gyi Su, located around 15 miles northeast of Myingyan, has been a target of multiple raids and arson attacks by the army and pro-junta Pyu Saw Htee militias. The village, once home to around 250 households, has significantly reduced in size due to the destruction caused by military and pro-regime forces. Only a fraction of the original population remained when the raid occurred on Wednesday.

In a previous raid on the village in May of this year, carried out by the military, a resident in his 60s lost his life, and a 35-year-old paraplegic suffered severe burns.

Myingyan District holds strategic importance as a stronghold of various armed groups opposing the military regime. It provides access to Myaung Township, Sagaing Region, and Yesagyo Township, Magway Region, situated near the confluence of the Ayeyarwady and Chindwin rivers.

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