Mass Grave Found Near Myanmar Township

Residents of Kani, a township in Sagaing Region, discovered 15 disfigured bodies in a forest on Sunday and Monday after soldiers detained a group of villagers from nearby villages.
According to several residents, the men were among 26 people who went missing Friday and Saturday when junta troops raided homes in the villages of Yin, Kone Thar, and Kyauk Hlay Khar.
The neighbors and relatives who had fled the raids went looking for the missing people and discovered the bodies strewn across a hillside east of Yin village.
Myanmar Now obtained photos and videos of the victims being stripped naked or half-naked. Some were blindfolded with their own clothes, and others were tied together. The injuries on the men’s bodies, such as knife wounds on their necks and faces, indicated they were severely tortured.
Locals said the deceased included a father, two sons, three brothers, and a nephew. The majority of the participants were between 30 and 50 years old, and one was 60.
As soon as they got caught they were all killed at once. All of them were caught together. A resident of Yin village, who was among those who found the bodies, said, “They literally massacred them all.”
The men were buried on the evening of July 12, the local said, adding that he attended the mass funeral.
We found two bodies with their faces slit with knives and some with their arms and legs broken. Some had nearly decapitated heads and some had mutilated limbs. We can therefore assume they slit their faces with knives while interrogating them,” he said.
During the raids, soldiers ransacked temporary shelters in the area, tossing people’s belongings on the ground and destroying motorcycles.
“They took the locals with their hands tied and then shot them,” said a man from Kone Thar village.
The Junta could not be reached for comment on the killings.
Myanmar Now was not able to independently verify a third local’s claim that soldiers had buried landmines nearby, making the retrieval of the bodies especially difficult.
The local said, “We avoided them only by luck. It could have been much worse.”.
Four of the 26 women who were detained last week have now been released, but as the rest remain missing, many fear more bodies will be found.
An activist from Kani said, “I cannot find the right words to describe the military’s atrocities. I wish we could escape this vile dictatorship.”
The raids forced more than 10,000 villagers including infants and the elderly to flee the villages of Yin, Kone Thar, Kyauk Hlay Khar, and Ohmmm.
Soldiers later followed the Kone Thar villager and others who fled to their makeshift displacement camps to rob them of their rice and other food supplies.
Insecticides were poured into ponds and other water reservoirs for farming, essentially poisoning the water supplies. They took 25-30 lakhs ($1,500-1800) and all our gold. They forced open motorcycle engines and filled them with sand, he said.
Since the soldiers left for the neighboring township of Mingin, more than half of the displaced villagers have returned home.
Kani became a stronghold of the movement to topple the junta after the coup on February 1, 20221, and suffered brutal reprisals as a result.
Locals began using traditional hunting rifles to defend themselves from soldiers and launched guerilla attacks in early April. The conflict has raged in the area ever since, displacing thousands.
The junta alleged on June 19, 2021, that “terrorists” attacked the military near Michaungdwin, another village in Kani, with homemade landmines and hunting rifles.
The same day, soldiers and plainclothes military personnel from Light Infantry Division 99 arrived at the nearby village of Kin and tortured nine residents by cutting their bodies with knives, two village residents told Myanmar Now.
“I will take my hatred for the military to my grave because of the way they terrorized innocent civilians,” one of them said. “I will keep fighting until the end.”

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