Junta calls burning deaths "fake news" as Dontaw buries its children

Junta calls burning deaths "fake news" as Dontaw buries its children

The charred corpses of ten men brutally burned after being tied, beaten, and shot by Burmese army troops were buried in the Sagaing village of Dontaw this morning. 

A brother of 23-year-old Htet Ko, one of the ten being laid to rest, told DVB through tears that he had spent yesterday evening arranging the burial.

“I recognized my brother because of his earring. I can feel how he suffered in the fire. He gritted his teeth and clenched his fists whilst his hand were tied behind his back,” 

He said that he now wished he could fight the military, if he were armed.

A 43-year-old resident of the village added: “I just want to say one thing. We pray that they will get karma one day.” 

Nway Oo (a pseudonym), who witnessed the burning bodies, said that he had helped bury ten men this morning.

He told DVB that he had never seen such inhumane treatment in all his years.  

“When the military council invaded the village, people fled into the jungle out of fear. Soldiers wandered through the jungle and discovered the ten men in a betel field. We shed many tears when we saw that sad scene.”

He said that the bodies had been buried near to the scene of the crime. 

“Now we know who the victims are, we know their families. Their families are grieving—but did dare not say goodbye to the dead for fear of returning to the village.”

Seemingly without an excuse for this latest atrocity in a week of particularly gruesome crimes against humanity, the military made no formal announcement following yesterdays murders.

Instead, its Information Ministry took to Viber (a messaging app popular in Burma) to deny that the killings, or the attacks that preceded them, had ever occurred.

“There was no fighting between the Burma Army and local PDFs in Salingyi township on December 7. These stories spreading on social media have come about through collusion between the toxic medias. This whole case is fake news,” read a note proliferated to those receiving messages from the Tatmadaw’s Information Team, a Q&A forum directed by General Zaw Min Tun.

Dontaw village has a population of 400 people, yet only a third have so far returned. Most are harboring in neighboring areas for fear of further reprisals.

Nway Oo told DVB that the region surrounding Dontaw has always been peaceful, that the military had never before intruded. 

“These kinds of experiences only happened to us after the coup.”

Villagers further revealed that, alongside the ten men burned by the military, a 61-year-old woman was found to have been shot dead in the betel field. Two men who had been watering the field were also said to have been tortured. 

“When soldiers set fire to our villagers, we saw a plume of smoke from a distance of about a mile away. We thought that a hut was set on fire, but when we heard the news, we ran to check on them. It turned out to be true. It’s cruel. They are not human beings,” Nway Oo said.

He said that the military have twice camped by the village, raiding it for supplies and food. This time they took far more.

The victims of the massacre in Dontaw village, according to Nway Oo. Five of the slain were children.

Ko Tint Naing – 30 years old

Ko Win Ko – 30 years old

Ko Zin Min Tun – 22 years old

Ko Htet Ko – 23 years old

Ko San Ko – 25 years old

Ko San Min Oo – under 18 years old

Ko Chit Nan Oo – under 18 years old

Ko Arkar Soe – under 18 years old

Ko Kyaw Thet – under 18 years old

Ko Than Myint Aung – under 18 years old