Arakan Army: Myanmar junta killed 76 in village massacre

The number of civilians killed by Myanmar’s junta in Byian Phyu village in Sittwe Township, Rakhine State, has reached 76, the Arakan Army (AA) said on Tuesday, The Irrawaddy reports.

The armed group updated the death toll and stated that the incident is still under investigation.

During the raid last Wednesday, junta troops detained Byian Phyu residents over alleged links with the AA and killed them over the following two days.

Detained villagers were held in the midday sun without food or water and their houses were searched for evidence of AA support.

“They were killed near the lake which is just beside the field where they were held,” Sittwe resident Ko Lu Hman said.

Almost all those killed found near Byian Phyu were men and the bodies were burned, he said.

Troops interrogated the male detainees and checked their tattoos. If they found something connected with the AA, the soldiers beat and tortured them.

The troops took an unknown number of detainees to the command headquarters in Sittwe.

Junta soldiers reportedly raped at least three female villagers and two women were killed. Survivors confirmed that junta soldiers took them away, allegedly to check their phones.

Over 80 homes and a monastery at Byian Phyu were burned by the soldiers.

According to Sittwe residents, the troops took women, children and older villagers to Wingaber field in Sittwe and nearby monasteries and stopped them from going home.

Khaing Thukha said the AA’s rival Arakan Liberation Party (ALP) was involved in the massacre.

On Sunday, the AA pledged to punish every junta soldier and ALP member involved in the massacre and rapes and those who ordered the war crimes.

Junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun denied mass arrests and killings in the village in an interview with the regime’s media.

He claimed that junta troops on May 29 summoned suspected AA members in the village to question them “for security purposes” and three men seized an officer’s firearm and were shot.

The National Unity Government condemned the killing of civilians and added that it would cooperate with other organizations to claim justice for all victims.

Sittwe residents say they fear similar violence in the state capital.

“We are in trouble. We want to leave Sittwe but all the routes are closed by regime troops. The regime also ordered us not to go fishing,” a resident said.

The AA has seized 10 towns across Rakhine State’s 17 townships, plus Paletwa Township in southern Chin State, since launching its offensive in November last year.

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