Junta further restricts retention of foreign currency

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

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

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

“They were stopped at the security outpost when the military helicopters arrived. They were captured because they had no guns, just sticks and swords,” the defense team leader said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

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

Seven were found inside five homes that had been set on fire in the raid, said residents, who estimated that around half of the village’s 600 homes had been destroyed by the fire.

“Most of them had been burned beyond recognition. Their hands and feet were bound with iron wire. We had no way of identifying them,” said a Kyi Su villager who saw the charred remains of the victims.

Although they could not be individually identified, the seven were believed to be members of the village defense force who could not be found after the raid.

The other three victims were among hundreds of residents who had been detained at the village monastery overnight. Most, including a defense force member who was mistaken for an ordinary civilian, were released the following morning.

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

The two bodies discovered near Thar Wut Hti are believed to belong to residents who returned to the village believing the regime soldiers had already left. The two 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 thrown into a ditch outside the village.

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

Kyi Su and Thar Wut Hti are also close to the villages of Monhla and Pin Sein Khin in Ye-U township, which were among the targets of Monday’s air and ground assault on anti-regime resistance strongholds.

Although people in the villages fled when the attacks began and reportedly escaped injury, religious structures were reportedly targeted.

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

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

Survivors of these raids say some of the victims were burned to death. Photographic and video evidence of military atrocities in the area was 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.