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Myanmar militia arrests and shoots villagers near India border

Junta-backed Pyu Saw Htee militia members shot four villagers on the Myanmar-India border, locals told Radio Free Asia. 

Over the course of two days, soldiers raided the village in Sagaing region’s Tamu township, burning down houses and a Christian church, residents of Htan Ta Pin said. They also arrested roughly 100 locals and later released them.

“We have been fleeing from the village for a long time. The rest of the villagers, about a hundred, were taken to [the military’s] Four Mile Camp by the Pyu Saw Htee group,” said one villager, declining to be named for security reasons. “Villagers were sent to Tamu from there. Detainees were released in Tamu.”

Some of the released villagers went back to check on their houses and gather the remainder of their belongings, he added. 

“Four villagers were shot dead when they came across Pyu Saw Htee members at the village,” he said. “The village was torched on Sunday and Monday. I can see the smoke from a distance.”

The identity of the four victims could not be confirmed by residents, as they have not been able to return due to the militia’s continued presence. RFA could also not confirm the extent of the fire damage, as villagers have fled. 

RFA reached out to Sagaing region’s junta spokesperson Sai Naing Naing Kyaw for more information on the attacks, but he did not answer calls.

Nearly all Htan Ta Pin residents have sheltered near the Indian border, locals said. Those released from junta custody have fled to churches or relatives’ homes in Tamu township. 

Htan Ta Pin village has fewer than 300 houses and is roughly 1.6 kilometers (one mile) from the Indian border. Fighting between local defense groups and Pyu Saw Htee militia in Htan Ta Pin on Nov. 21 is believed to be part of the reason for the attack, locals said. 

During the November battle, local defense forces killed two Pyu Saw Htee members and arrested four others. The arrested included Myint Aung, a former member of parliament for the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party and a leader of Pyu Saw Htee group.

Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Mike Firn.