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Body found in Myanmar’s Pale township as junta continues on warpath

Myanmar’s junta killed a man as a convoy of troops moving through Sagaing region continued to raid villages and abduct residents, locals told Radio Free Asia Friday.

The body of the man in his 30s was discovered Thursday near Ma Taunt Ta village after being tortured by the junta group Tiger Ogre, local residents told Radio Free Asia.  

“Go ahead, it won’t be so long until you can clearly see the ashes,” was written on a tarp near the corpse and signed by Tiger Ogre, according to a group helping war victims in the area.

“He was tortured and killed after he was captured while fleeing the fighting. He was found when the locals returned to the village after the column left,” said a member of the assistance group, asking to be kept anonymous for fear of reprisals. “His name and where he is from are still not known. The body was already mutilated when locals found it near Ma Taunt Ta village.”

“It won’t be so long until you can clearly see the ashes.” A warning from Tiger Ogre written on a tarpaulin near a mutilated body on Oct. 5, 2023. Credit: ANPTT

The convoy, consisting of more than 300 soldiers and 17 military trucks, continues to arbitrarily open fire along their route. Locals report they also continue to raid villages, arrest members of local People’s Defense Forces, and take hostages.

The morning of Oct. 4, Tiger Ogre raided five villages between Salingyi and Yinmarbin townships in southern Sagaing region. The targeted villages included Baik Tha Yet, Ma Taunt Ta and Shwe Tha Min. 

After firing at villages from a helicopter for an hour, the junta troops left for Pale township on the morning of October 5. As the troops continue their raids across the region, more than 15,000 residents in Salingyi, Yinmarbin, and Pale townships have fled, aid workers and locals said. 

Residents flee junta raids on Pale township on the night of Oct. 5, 2023. Credit: Pale People’s Administration Group

The troops have also killed and captured locals, as well as taken rations of rice, oil, and peas whenever they entered the villages, residents said. The number of casualties has not been confirmed by RFA. 

On Thursday morning, 10 locals were also arrested on suspicion of planting landmines near the entrance of Let Taung Gyi village in Pale township. A witness said there were about 20 military trucks reinforcing the column when the junta troops raided the villages in Pale township.

“Now the column has arrived in Kokko Kone village in Pale township,” said a witness asking to remain anonymous. “The 10 civilians who were arrested from Let Taung Gyi village were released in the night. They were released around 7pm when we received the information.”

He added that villages are still being targeted because of landmines planted by local resistance groups along the junta’s route. 

Tiger Ogre column is responsible for violent decapitations, torture and robberies in other townships in southern Sagaing earlier this year.

Calls by RFA to Sagaing’s junta spokesperson Sai Naing Naing Kyaw went unanswered.

More than 813,000 people have fled their homes in Sagaing due to fighting according to a United Nations report on Oct. 2.

Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Mike Firn.