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Myanmar junta troops seize over 300 hostages

One woman died and over 300 villagers were arrested after a junta raid in central Myanmar, residents told Radio Free Asia on Wednesday.

Troops shot 21-year-old Khin Soe Wai while she fled her village in Mandalay township, locals said. 

Over 50 soldiers stormed Kan Swei village following a clash with local resistance forces on Sunday. Mandalay and Myingyan People’s Defense Forces attacked junta troops with drones only half a mile away.

After shooting Khin Soe Wai, villagers said the column occupied the village’s monastery, interrogating more than 100 villagers on Tuesday and burning down three homes. 

Troops took more than 30 of them to a village in nearby Natogyi township.

After arriving in Na Nwin Taw Bo, soldiers arrested over 300 more villagers, who have not been released yet, Myingyan-based defense forces member Bo Moe Kyo told RFA on Wednesday.

“On the fifth, a woman from Kan Swei who ran away was shot dead,” he said. “About 150 villagers in Kan Swei were detained in the monastery. They were beaten and tortured. About 30 of them were taken by the junta troops.”

Since the raid, some 5,000 residents from eight villages in Myingyan township and Natogyi township have been forced to flee due to the junta column, he said.

“Na Nwin Taw Bo was raided by the column again. There were no casualties. But they arrested everyone they met: children, adults and women,” he said. “More than 300 villagers were arrested. They are still being held as hostage.”

Calls by RFA to Mandalay’s junta spokesperson Thein Htay to learn more about the raid went unanswered on Wednesday. 

In January, four women and five men from Mandalay region’s Myingyan township were arrested and killed by junta troops.

As of Feb. 6, over 4,400 people across the country have been killed since the military seized power three years ago, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Mike Firn.