Bodies of Myanmar resistance fighters slain near India border town show signs of torture

A column of junta troops preparing to retake Sagaing Region’s Khampat Town arrested and stabbed dead four resistance fighters who were guarding one of its entrances on Tuesday, The Irrawaddy reports.

Photos of the deceased showed knife wounds as well as signs of torture.

The strategic town on the border with India is on the Asian Highway in Tamu District near Sagaing Region’s border with Chin State. It was seized from junta troops by allied resistance forces on November 7 after four days of fighting.

From 200 to 300 junta troops have marched from Kale to Khampat to retake the town.

On Tuesday, junta troops seized seven resistance fighters and killed four of them.

“They stabbed six of them in the heads and stomachs,” Salai Lian Pi, a spokesperson for the Chin National Organization of the Upper Chindwin Region told The Irrawaddy. “Two of them fell unconscious but [later] escaped when the column left while four were killed,” he said, adding that the seventh was taken by junta troops for use as a guide.

Photographs seen by The Irrawaddy show the bodies of four resistance fighters with stab wounds on their necks and heads. Signs of torture are evident.

Salai Lian Pi said the bodies were cremated on Wednesday.

The four fighters killed were two men from the Chinland Defense Force (Tonzang), one from Rawn Chin group and a member of a People’s Defense Force.

“They were terrorists because they brutally killed those arrested like this … They are brutal, but unlike them we will continue to deal with prisoners of war according to the law,” Salai Lian Pi said when asked about the four men killed.

Resistance groups, including ethnic armed organizations, say they take care of junta soldiers who are captured or surrender according to international law and that they have their own specialized personnel for handling prisoners of war. They provide medical treatment, proper meals, don’t tie them up and treat them humanely, the groups say.

Following the killings, junta’s spokesman Zaw Min Tun on Friday said that junta troops are carrying out operations around Khampat Town and that they are being successful.

Salai Lian Pi, however, said no new clashes with junta troops have occurred since resistance forces took the town. However, resistance forces prepared for the column as it marched to the town and they will prevent junta troops from retaking the town, he said.

On Wednesday, more than 5,000 people from four wards in the town fled their homes amid alarm junta troops were poised to attack.

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