75 civilians killed in Sittwe, junta denies involvement

It may be recalled that the outbreak of the civil war in Sittwe led the Indian consulate in Sittwe to relocate the Yangon in February this year.
The military, however, has denied any role in the killings, though it said that it has retaliated against some people trying to challenge them, leaving three persons dead.
The military, however, has denied any role in the killings, though it said that it has retaliated against some people trying to challenge them, leaving three persons dead. (File Photo | AP)

NEW DELHI : Over 75 civilians have been reportedly killed in Byian Phyu village near the capital of Rakhine State Sittwe, allegedly by the military junta on pretext of rounding up residents they felt supported the rebel ethnic group Arakan Army.

The military, however, has denied any role in the killings, though it said that it has retaliated against some people trying to challenge them, leaving three persons dead.

It may be recalled that the outbreak of the civil war in Sittwe led the Indian consulate in Sittwe to relocate the Yangon in February this year.

Sittwe is important for India as it has invested in building a port there, as part of the strategic $484 million Kaladan Multi Modal Transit Project.

The massacre has drawn criticism from the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. “Recent attacks by the Myanmar military have reportedly killed scores of civilians, including in Rakhine State and Sagaing Region. Indiscriminate aerial bombings and human rights violations continue to be reported in the country. Those responsible must be held accountable,” Guterres said on Saturday.

Houses and a monastery have been burnt down in the attack. “The attacks took place after junta troops detained residents of Byian Phyu village over suspicion of their links with ethnic rebel groups such as the Arakan Army,” said a source.

The civilians, all men, were killed near a lake where they were interrogated, and their bodies burned. Several men were reportedly taken away as detainees. Allegations of rape of women have also surfaced. Junta soldiers reportedly raped at least three women and killed two others. Survivors confirmed that soldiers took them away, allegedly to check their phones.

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