Junta interrogation results in more deaths in Myanmar’s west: source

Victims are part of an ongoing junta’s interrogation that has lasted weeks and resulted in more than 70 deaths.
By RFA Burmese
2024.06.12
Junta interrogation results in more deaths in Myanmar’s west: source A junta police force in Sittwe township, Rakhine State.
RFA

Junta soldiers in Myanmar’s west interrogated dozens of detained villagers and tortured several to death, residents told Radio Free Asia. 

The soldiers beat three of the arrested residents from Byain Phyu village in Rakhine State on Wednesday until they were rushed to the hospital, two eventually dying from their injuries, said one resident, declining to be named for security reasons. 

“More than 40 people were sent to Sittwe Prison from the [junta’s] military interrogation yesterday. Three of them were close to death,” he said. “The three of them were sent to Sittwe Hospital. Two died yesterday, and the other one is seriously injured.”

The bodies were covered in bruises and long cuts, he added.

A family member who wished to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals told RFA that those who were sent to prison also had serious injuries.

“The [junta] said residents from the village will be jailed. The villagers were severely tortured when we went to see them,” he said. “My uncle is also among the people who were sent to prison.”

Junta authorities stationed in the area filed a case against the detained residents under Section 17(1) of the Unlawful Association Act and Section 188 of the Penal Code for disobeying an order, said another resident. The charges allege that villagers were connected to the anti-junta Arakan Army.

Junta’s move came as clashes intensify between the Arakan Army and junta forces, with the rebel group advancing closer to the state capital, which made Myanmar military ramp up its raids and interrogations in the surrounding areas. 

On May 29, junta troops arrested residents of Byain Phyu village and killed over 70 people. The arrested villagers were interrogated about connections to insurgent armies, according to locals. Nearly 200 junta soldiers surrounded the village and detained a large but undisclosed number of men. 

Women and children under 15 involved in the arrest were released on May 31, but the remaining 40 men were transferred from an interrogation center in Byain Phyu, Rakhine State, to a prison in Sittwe on Tuesday, residents reported.

Separately, junta troops threatened residents from five villages near the state’s capital of Sittwe that they must evacuate by Friday.

According to an Arakan Army statement, Byain Phyu’s death toll following the arrests reached 76 as of June 4. 

RFA phoned Rakhine state’s junta spokesperson Hla Thein to confirm the two additional deaths reported on Wednesday, but he did not respond by the time of publication. 

Junta spokesperson Maj. Gen. Zaw Min Tun denied the mass arrests and killings through military-controlled media on June 4. 

Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Kiana Duncan and Taejun Kang. 

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