The bodies of eleven civilians captured by the military’s 140 Infantry Battalion to be used as human shields have been discovered in Matupi, the Chinland Defense Force Matupi (Matupi CDF) has announced.
A 13-year-old boy and a former employee of the Chin Human Rights Organisation were amongst the dead, as was journalist Pu Tuidim, founder of Chin news outlet, the Khonumthung Media Group.
Clashes are reported to have raged in the central Chin State town since Jan. 6 after the Matupi CDF and the military engaged in fighting between Kilun and Long Hlaw villages along the Matupi-Hakha Road.
During the clashes, the military is reported to have abducted eight civilians travelling by car and another man who had been delivering petrol to the group. On Jan. 7, a further two civilians were taken by soldiers. Local people said that those abducted had been used as a human shield as troops navigated the road, a route prone to IED attacks.
A spokesman from the Matupi CDF told DVB that, once troops had passed the area, all eleven people were systematically shot dead.
“It’s currently unknown how or when the killing took place. The bodies were found near Kilong village today, on January 9 and were buried in the evening,” a source told the Chinland Information Center.
Pu Tuidim becomes the third journalist to have been killed by the military this month, following the murder in interrogation of photographer Soe Naing, and the death of Federal News Journal reporter, Sai Win Aung, during a military airstrike on Lay Kay Kaw, Kayin State. Khonumthaung last night confirmed the killing of its founder in a statement which strongly condemned the military for its “inhumane killing”. Shortly after the report emerged, the CDF Mara resistance group announced that two ethnic Mara people, U Vathao and U Sall, were among those killed.
Reports suggest that, following the massacre, troops abducted a further five people to be used as a human shield in the Chin State town of Weibula. A spokesperson for the Chinland National Defense Force told DVB that the group had been returning from working on a farm when troops violently arrested them. Two of the five have so far been released. Weibula has been under attack since being raided by around 100 Burma Army soldiers on Jan. 6.