Military Council’s Brutality Unleashed in Yinmarbin Township, Sagaing

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – October 20

MoeMaKa, October 21, 2023

Military Council’s Brutality Unleashed in Yinmarbin Township, Sagaing

Reports from news sources and local residents indicate that following the military council’s invasion of several villages in Yinmarbin Township in Sagaing Division after October 15, civilians faced killings, arrests, and the looting of significant gold assets and money.

In the Innywa Village Tract, situated on the border of Yinmarbin and Pale Township, Sagaing Division, dozens of military council troops entered the villages, prompting a mass exodus of villagers. Upon their return, villagers were arrested, gender-segregated, detained, and subjected to torture by the military council troops who had hidden in the village. Shockingly, almost all men under the age of 40 were tortured, resulting in the death of three individuals under the age of 18 and one over the age of 18, a total of four casualties. Reports suggest that the victims were not shot but beaten to death with maces. Military council troops seized residents’ phones, rings, earrings, necklaces, and family-owned money and gold. The total value of looted properties from Thaegone Village alone exceeded 100 million kyats in gold and silver phones.

Tragically, two of the three young individuals killed were 10th-grade students. The incidents of torture, killings, and property confiscation are deeply distressing for the local population. This village is not an isolated case; military council troops have employed similar tactics in other villages in Sagaing in recent weeks. The pattern indicates that when ordered to raid villages, search for individuals associated with public defense forces, and confiscate valuables like gold, silver, and phones, military council troops leave some forces behind, hiding in plain sight. This organizational strategy suggests a military council weakened in strength and political standing.

These incidents underscore the military’s diminished political trust, allowing its soldiers to view communities affiliated with the Public Defense Forces (PDF) as enemies, justifying property seizure and the killing of suspects. Unlike conventional wars where one nation attacks another, civil wars involve people sharing the same language attacking and killing their linguistic counterparts. The military council appears to have propagated propaganda, fomented hatred to justify civilian killings, and enticed its troops with the allure of seizing property as the spoils of war.

For the affected villagers, the aftermath of these killings, violent property seizures, resentment, trauma, and the desire for revenge will be a long and challenging journey to recovery from such profound hatred and trauma. While there is hope for the strengthening of anti-military and armed movements in these regions, there’s an urgent need for unified political leadership among the public, cohesive political ties among armed organizations, and the ability to dissuade them from adopting warlord ideologies that deem any action by those with weapons as righteous. Recognizing that the military council’s brutality, destruction of homes, killings, and propagation of hatred can find success, it becomes evident that building robust political leadership is an urgent necessity based on historical events.