12 villagers found dead in latest Sagaing massacre

Residents of two villages in central Sagaing Region say they have discovered the bodies of a dozen people killed during junta raids carried out earlier this week.

Ten of the bodies were found in Kyi Su, located on the eastern bank of the Muu River in Kanbalu Township, while the other two were discovered in Thar Wut Hti, a village less than 10km to the south in Khin-U Township, local sources said.

Junta ground troops and military helicopters attacked both villages and several others in the area on Monday. Most of the victims in Kyi Su were members of a village defence team, according to a leader of the group.

“They were caught at the security outpost when the military helicopters came. They were captured because they didn’t have guns, just sticks and swords,” the defence team leader said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

One of the bodies in Kyi Su was discovered on Tuesday evening, after the regime forces had left the area, while the other nine were found early the next day.

Seven were found inside five houses that had been torched during the raid, said residents, who estimated that roughly half of the village’s 600 houses had been destroyed by fire.

“Most of them had been burned beyond recognition. Their hands and feet were bound with wire. There was no way we could identify them,” said a Kyi Su villager who saw the victims’ charred remains.

While they could not be individually identified, the seven were assumed to be members of the village defence force who could not be accounted for after the raid.

The other three victims were among the hundreds of residents who had been held at the village monastery overnight. Most, including one member of the defence force who was mistaken for an ordinary civilian, were released the next morning.

“We found a big pool of blood at the monastery and we followed the trail of blood to find the bodies,” a village resident told Myanmar Now, adding that the search for victims was still ongoing.

The two bodies discovered near Thar Wut Hti are believed to belong to residents who returned to the village thinking that the regime soldiers had already left. Both were found on Tuesday.

According to Sein Bay Dar, the leader of a Kanbalu-based resistance group called KBL-UG, one victim had been shot in the head and dumped in a ditch outside of the village.

The other body was discovered using a drone, he said. It had not been retrieved as of Wednesday because troops were still stationed nearby, he added.

Kyi Su and Thar Wut Hti are also near the Ye-U Township villages of Mone Hla and Pin Sein Khin, which were among the targets of Monday’s air and ground assault on anti-regime resistance strongholds.

Although residents of the villages fled when the attacks began and were believed to have escaped injury, religious structures were reportedly targeted.

“They fired at the church. The nuns and priest had to flee into the woods,” said a woman in Mone Hla, which is the birthplace of Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, the Catholic archbishop of Yangon.

In May, dozens of charred corpses were discovered in and around the villages of Mone Taing Pin and Inpin in Ye-U Township following a series of raids by regime forces. 

Survivors of those raids say that some of the victims were burned alive. Photographic and video evidence of military atrocities committed in the area were later found on a phone believed to belong to one of the perpetrators.

Myanmar’s junta routinely denies targeting civilians in its operations against resistance forces, despite evidence of almost daily attacks on villagers.

A ferry leaves the Angumaw Port in Rathedaung for the Yae Chan Pyin Port in Sittwe in February 2020 (EPA)

Myanmar military cutting off vital maritime lifelines in northern Rakhine State

Local civilians say the restrictions, imposed in the wake of clashes with the Arakan Army, are severely impacting their lives

A ferry leaves the Angumaw Port in Rathedaung for the Yae Chan Pyin Port in Sittwe in February 2020 (EPA)

Local civilians say the restrictions, imposed in the wake of clashes with the Arakan Army, are severely impacting their lives

People walk past the two Innwa Bank buildings in Yangon on August 5, 2019 (Sai Aung Main / AFP via Getty Images)

Leaked records from Myanmar military conglomerate-owned bank reveal international transactions 

Innwa Bank has facilitated payments involving financial institutions from Australia, Singapore and Vietnam, which continue to operate in Myanmar under the junta

People walk past the two Innwa Bank buildings in Yangon on August 5, 2019 (Sai Aung Main / AFP via Getty Images)

Innwa Bank has facilitated payments involving financial institutions from Australia, Singapore and Vietnam, which continue to operate in Myanmar under the junta

The move came after activist group Justice For Myanmar urged ANZ, Singapore’s UOB and Vietnam’s BIDV to stop dealing with Myanmar military-owned Innwa Bank earlier this month, citing leaked transaction files of payments between the banks. The group said at the time that continued international engagement with Innwa Bank illustrated “a failure of governments to take a coordinated approach to isolated military conglomerates and cutting off the junta’s sources of revenue.”

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People walk past an ANZ branch in downtown Singapore in 2011 (EPA/EFE)

Armed resistance

Five members of Yangon-based urban guerrilla force Wi Moutti were arrested on November 22 in Yangon, according to a spokesperson for the group. The junta authorities tracked them down after their national identification cards, along with explosives and ammunition, were allegedly seized in a raid earlier this month. The regime announced the next day that four men and a woman who were members of an anti-regime guerrilla group were captured at two separate locations in Yangon. In its statement, the military accused them of stealing 20m kyat (nearly US$9,500) from a ticket counter at the train station in Pazundaung Township on November 1, which the spokesperson of Wi Moutti rejected as untrue. Myanmar Now is unable to verify either parties’ claims independently.

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Two regime-appointed local administrators were shot dead by gunmen in Yangon’s Dagon Seikkan Township on the morning of November 28, according to a source within the police force.

Ward administrator Kyaw Than and 100-household administrator San Win Hlaing sustained injuries in their abdomen and thighs and died en route to the hospital, said the source. Pro-military media channels reported that the two men were at a Buddhist community hall in Dagon Seikkan’s 81st Ward when the two gunmen arrived, initially saying they wanted to report guest registration before opening fire. A driver named Aung Naing Thu was also injured in the shooting but survived the attack. No Yangon-based urban guerrilla group has claimed responsibility for the shooting so far.

NLD

Ousted Rakhine State chief minister Nyi Pu, who is currently being held in Sittwe Prison, is losing more of his eyesight as his cataracts progress and he is denied a medical intervention, a relative told Myanmar Now. Kyi Kyi Oo, his daughter, said that he developed the eye condition prior to the coup and that it had worsened since he was imprisoned in February 2021. She said that the family has not been able to see him in person, despite visiting the detention centre on multiple occasions. 

Nyi Pu has been handed a sentence of more than 11 years for various criminal charges filed by the military, including incitement, corruption and voter fraud. He was arrested in Gwa on February 1 as the coup unfolded, along with other chief ministers appointed by the elected NLD government. He was initially released the following day and placed under house arrest, but was again imprisoned on February 10. 

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Nyi Pu is seen with Aung San Suu Kyi at the Sittwe Airport in November 2017 (EPA/EFE)

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