Eleven people in a small Myanmar village were killed by Myanmar government officials Tuesday, according to opposition leaders who say the people were burned alive in retaliation for an attack on a military convoy.
A video shared on social media showed 11 burnt bodies displayed in a circle in the village of Done Taw, triggering outrage from the Myanmar people. A researcher for Human Rights Watch, Manny Muang, said the massacre was similar to other recent attacks and was intended to be discovered.
“This incident is quite brazen, and it happened in an area that was meant to be found, and seen, to scare people,” Maung told the Associated Press. “Our contacts are saying these were just boys and young people who were villagers who were caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
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The purported attack that caused the retribution on the villagers occurred when a military convoy hit a roadside bomb near the Done Taw village. The military was raiding villages nearby and had initially shelled the village in response, but they then went inside of the village and grabbed whoever they could find, the report said. The victims ranged in age from 14 to 40.
“They were lashed together, tortured, and ultimately burned alive,” Dr. Sasa, a spokesperson for the opposition government, said. “The sheer brutality, savagery, and cruelty of these acts shows a new depth of depravity, and proves that, despite the pretense of the relative détente seen over the last few months, the junta never had any intention of deescalating their campaign of violence."
Myanmar's military launched a coup and declared itself as the country's legitimate leader on Feb. 1, following the results of the 2020 election in Myanmar. The military claimed there was voter fraud in the country after Aung San Suu Kyi won in a landslide. However, independent election observers did not detect any major election irregularities.
The seizure of power by the military was initially met with nonviolent protests that escalated into violence when met with lethal force. In recent months, the fighting has happened in the country's northwestern region, according to news reports. The Myanmar government claims it has no troops near Done Taw, despite a witness's account that there were about 50 troops.
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As of Wednesday, 1,300 unarmed people have been killed by security forces, including 75 children, according to United Nations spokesperson Stephane Dujarric.
Suu Kyi was initially sentenced to four years in prison Monday for inciting violence and violating COVID-19 restrictions in the country, but her sentence was commuted down to two years.