• Fri. Jul 1st, 2022

Thousands face food shortage after junta plane bombs IDP camp in eastern Myanmar

ByDebra J. Aguilar

Feb 28, 2022

Tin Tun is silent as he sits in the searing heat of the sun. It’s past noon, but he still hasn’t eaten anything.

The 40-year-old farmer from Inn Nge Daunt, a village in Pauk Township in Magway Region, has been like this since March 5, the day his wife and daughter were taken from him in the most brutal way imaginable .

Any attempt to tell her about what happened that day is met with tears. “Please don’t ask me about it,” he said.

A friend from a neighboring village explains instead.

Tin Tun didn’t just lose his wife and three-year-old daughter, the friend begins. He has also not seen eight other members of his family, including his parents and an eldest daughter, since the raid on their village more than two weeks ago.

All he has left of his family, in fact, is his eight-year-old second daughter.

“His youngest daughter and his wife were killed and his parents, younger sister and eldest daughter were also taken away. It basically drove him crazy. He just couldn’t deal with it,” said the friend, who is from nearby Boet Mei village.

A chilling discovery

On the morning of March 5, Tin Tun was busy harvesting palm juice when he learned that around 100 junta soldiers and members of the army-backed Pyu Saw Htee militia had entered Inn Nge Daunt. , a village of only about thirty households.

After learning that his wife and daughters were being held with more than 30 other people, he started running towards his home, but fell and injured himself before he could get there.

Meanwhile, the soldiers who took control of the village began firing gunfire and heavy artillery to ward off the resistance forces active in the area.

The situation remained tense for several hours. Then, around 4 p.m., seven oxcarts arrived at Inn Nge Daunt from Wun Chone, a village about 3 km to the east. They were then loaded with goods looted from Inn Nge Daunt and sent back to Wun Chone, a known stronghold of Pyu Saw Htee.

Along the way, however, two of the bullock carts broke down. When members of a local defense force approached, soldiers who had remained behind to guard the carts opened fire on them, according to a local source.

“[Pyu Saw Htee] pretended to be civilians and suddenly started firing automatic weapons. But then the defense team attacked them, just because they couldn’t stand to see them stealing all that stuff,” the source said.

The two sides clashed for about an hour, until the resistance forces withdrew after junta troops positioned on a hill west of Inn Nge Daung began firing at them with heavy artillery.

After that, the soldiers returned to the village with four wounded young people who had taken part in the fighting. Then, around 7 p.m., they began burning houses in the center of Inn Nge Daunt before returning to Wun Chone with more than 30 hostages as human shields.

Residents and resistance forces did not dare enter the Nge Daunt Inn that night, fearing that some soldiers remained to ambush them in the dark.

When they returned at dawn the next morning, they found that two houses had been burned down. Inside were the bodies of the four young resistance fighters.

More chilling, however, was the discovery of two other bodies covered with blankets in a house next to one of the two that had been burned down – Tin Tun’s house.

Stabbed to death

The two victims were quickly identified as Tin Tun’s wife, Aye Aye Win, and their three-year-old daughter, Yati Moe. Both had been stabbed in the chest.

“They even killed the child that way. The blade went through Aye Aye Win’s body, so it must have been at least a foot long,” said Tin Tun’s friend from Boet Mei.

There was also evidence that she had been raped before she was murdered, he added.

He suggested that this might have been the reason she was murdered. Since the members of Pyu Saw Htee were from a nearby village, it is likely that she knew who her attackers were, he said.

It is also possible that she was targeted for attack due to her family’s wealth. It was well known in the area that they had recently sold 50 goats for 5 million kyat ($2,800).

“I think they asked her to give them the money they made selling the goats and they raped and killed her when she refused,” he said.

Whatever the motive, it is clear that the attack was unspeakably vicious.

“There was a lot of blood covering his genital area,” said the head of a local defense force, who noted that the legs of both bodies were bound with ropes.

‘I can’t think anymore’

As Tin Tun continues to mourn the loss of his wife and youngest child, he also remains tormented by concern for his eldest daughter, Thin Thin, 12, and other family members who are still missing. .

A total of 34 people, including eight children and a three-month-old baby, were taken hostage in the March 5 raid on Inn Nge Daunt.

According to a local guerrilla leader, the captives were taken to Ta Kone, a village about 5 km north of Inn Nge Daunt, where they are being held at the local monastery.

He also said, without further explanation, that the troops holding them back encountered an explosion on their way to Tat Kone.

After more than two weeks without any contact with his family, Tin Tun has all but lost hope of seeing his missing loved ones again.

“I can’t think anymore. My whole family is gone. Please don’t ask me anything. I don’t know what to do anymore,” he said sadly.