Myanmar Army “Massacres” Civilians In Christian Area
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
NAYPYIDAW (Worthy News) – Myanmar’s army massacred at least ten civilians whom they had detained in a mainly Christian area of the troubled nation, aid workers and residents say.
“Eleven people were detained by the military” on January 6 and 7 “near Kihlun and Longhtaw villages” in the Matupi township of Chin State, said Barnabas Fund, a Christian aid group.
The bodies of ten of them were recovered over the following two days, added the group in a statement to Worthy News.
Local sources said none of the victims sustained gunshot wounds; all except one of the bodies were reportedly discovered with hands tied and throats cut.
The dead included a 13-year-old boy, La Nang, according to Christians familiar with the situation.
Worthy News obtained pictures of the 10 civilians who were reportedly killed by the Myanmar military, known as the Tatmadaw.
Also among the victims was journalist Tui Dim, founder and editor-in-chief of the Chin State-based Khonumthung news agency, who lived across the Indian border.
He was visiting his hometown of Matupi when he was arrested, added Barnabas Fund, which has close knowledge about the circumstances.
Residents identified the other eight victims as Van Htoo, Steven, La Ring, Tin San, Phupa Sali, Lian Ngai, Ze Caet Aung, and Thak Lung.
“Searches were made for the eleventh villager, who is also feared to be dead,” Barnabas Fund added.
There was no immediate known army response to the allegations. But Za Op Lin, deputy executive director of the Chin Human Rights Organization, denounced the killings, saying, “It is a war crime – killing a young boy and a journalist.”
He added in published remarks that the Tatmadaw had recently added reinforcements in Matupi and feared that further “human rights violations would occur.”
Christians say more than 4,000 people from villages in Matupi were displaced by fighting since the Tatmadaw launched an offensive in the area after its coup on February 1, 2021.
Most of the displaced found shelter with family and friends across the border in India, according to Barnabas Fund investigators.
The Chin population of Myanmar is thought to be at least 90 percent, Christian.
“The Tatmadaw has for many years persecuted the [predominantly-Christian] Chin, Kachin and Karen ethnic groups, as well as [the mainly Muslim] Rohingya,” Barnabas Fund explained.
Details of the massacre, shared with Worthy News, came just weeks after the new United Nations special envoy to Myanmar condemned the reported killing of up to 38 people on Christmas Eve.
Noeleen Heyzer said she is “deeply concerned” by increased violence in Myanmar’s eastern Kayah State, where women and children were apparently among those massacred.
Aid workers confirmed that government troops shot and even burned villagers fleeing ongoing combat in eastern Mo So village just outside the state’s Hpruso township.
Additionally, minority Christians also faced the destruction of their churches by government troops in this heavily Buddhist nation, Worthy News documented.
They are among groups seen as a threat to the military rulers’ power base, according to rights activists working in the area.
Christians are between more than 1,000 people who have died in coup-related violence, according to several sources.
A Myanmar court this month sentenced ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi to four more years in prison on what her supporters called trumped-up charges aimed at serving the military rulers.
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate was convicted for possessing walkie-talkies in her home and violating COVID-19 protocols.
Her defenders said the walkie-talkies belonged to her security detail and that the accusations were bogus and politically motivated.
Altogether, Suu Kyi, 76, has been sentenced to a total of six years in prison, with many more charges pending against her, trial observers said.
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