In four separate incidents in Kani Township in July, soldiers killed up to 40 men.
According to a BBC investigation, the military in Myanmar killed at least 40 civilians in July.
Witnesses and survivors told the BBC that soldiers as young as 17 rounded up residents before separating the men and killing them.
Four people were killed in Kani Township, a stronghold of the opposition in central Myanmar’s Sagaing District, in separate incidents in July.
There appear to be video and photographs that show that many of the victims were tortured and buried in shallow graves, the BBC reported. However, military government officials did not deny the charges.
Since a February military coup ousted a democratically elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi, the military has faced opposition from citizens.
Eleven witnesses in Kani were interviewed by the BBC, who then compared their accounts with mobile phone footage and photographs collected by Myanmar Witness, a UK-based NGO that investigates human rights abuses in Myanmar.
At least 14 men were tortured or beaten to death in Yin village before their bodies were thrown into a forested gully. The men were tied up and beaten before being killed, according to witnesses in Yin who were not identified by the BBC.
“Do your final rites”
In order to avoid being disturbed, we kept our eyes closed while we wept “That’s what one woman who lost three family members to the attack said. “We pleaded with them not to. They were uninterested. ‘Are your husbands among them?’ they asked the women. If so, perform your final rites.”
A survivor of the massacre claimed that soldiers tortured the men for hours before they were killed.
All day, they were beaten with stones and rifle butts until they were unable to stand up, according to the survivor’s account. “Some of the soldiers appeared to be in their late teens or early twenties, while others appeared to be in their fifties or even sixties. They were joined by a woman.”
Late in July, 12 mutilated bodies were discovered in a shallow mass grave in the nearby village of Zee Bin Dwin, including the body of a disabled person and a small body, possibly a child. Several were mutilated.
It was discovered that a man in his sixties had been tied to a plum tree nearby. The BBC said it had reviewed footage of his corpse, which clearly showed signs of torture. Despite his family’s claims that his son and grandchild had fled, he stayed behind, believing that his age would protect him from harm.
civilian militia groups in the area had attacked military installations, and it appeared that the killings were a collective punishment for their actions.
‘Silent strike’ against the coup in Myanmar saw the streets deserted.
In the months leading up to the massacre, fighting had erupted in the area, including near Zee Bin Dwin, between the military and local branches of the People’s Defense Force, a collective name for civilian militia groups.
Visual evidence and testimonies provided by the BBC show that men were specifically targeted, which is consistent with a recent trend of male villages being punished for clashes between the People’s Defence Force and military….
Family members claimed that their loved ones were not involved in any sort of attack on the military when they were killed. A woman whose brother was killed in the Yin village massacre said she begged the soldiers, telling them her brother “couldn’t even handle a catapult”.
He said he heard a soldier say: “Don’t utter a word. We’ve had a long day. We will put an end to your life.”
Most non-state media outlets in Myanmar have been shut down and foreign journalists have been barred from reporting since the coup.
Myanmar’s Deputy Minister for Information and military spokesperson General Zaw Min Tun did not deny that soldiers were involved in the mass killings when questioned about the BBC allegations.
It could happen, he admitted. “We have the right to defend ourselves if they treat us as enemies,” says the song.
Currently, the United Nations is looking into allegations that Myanmar’s military has violated human rights.