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Disabled man’s burned body found near Myanmar’s Ayeyarwady River

Residents of Kachin state’s Shwegu township found the mutilated, burned body of a disabled man on the banks of the Ayeyarwady river, they told Radio Free Asia on Thursday.

They said 30-year-old Ko Saw was a gold miner from Yae Le village.

Junta troops arrested him on Monday, after they arrived in the village in a fleet of warships.

One local said the man had a damaged leg and arm, injured in the gold mine, and bad eyesight.

He said the man was unable to run away and thought the troops wouldn’t arrest him because he was disabled. 

“When the soldiers found him, they searched his home and found the People’s Defense Force uniform of his brother-in-law in a box. He didn’t even know he had that suit,” said the local, who didn’t want to be named for safety reasons.

“The troops immediately arrested him and stabbed him. His legs were beaten and crushed. Then he was burnt to death.”

Another resident said troops tied the man’s hands behind his back and beat him before taking him away.

The six warships that arrived Monday were attacked by a local People’s Defense Force the previous day, residents said.

On Sunday, the vessels moored at Toke Gyi and around 200 soldiers raided the village, shooting dead seven residents and burning down 45 homes.

The next day, troops torched around 10 rafts and several boats at Yae Le, used to prospect for gold in the river.

They accused locals of harboring People’s Defense Forces and ethnic Kachin Independence Army fighters.

More than 1,000 residents of Yae Le fled their homes ahead of the raid.

When RFA called the junta spokesperson for Kachin State, Win Ye Tun, seeking comment on the killings, he said security issues were not related to him.

Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Mike Firn and Taejun Kang.