Myanmar Army troops massacred at least ten civilians whom they had earlier arrested, according to residents of Matupi township, Chin State.
Eleven people were detained by the military (known as the Tatmadaw) on 6 and 7 January near Kihlun and Longhtaw villages. The bodies of ten of them were recovered over the following two days.
The dead included a 13-year-old boy, La Nang.
Also among the victims was journalist Tui Dim, founder and editor-in-chief of the Chin State-based Khonumthung news agency, who lived across the Indian border. He was visiting his home town of Matupi when he was arrested.
Residents identified the other eight victims as Van Htoo, Steven, La Ring, Tin San, Phupa Sali, Lian Ngai, Ze Caet Aung and Thak Lung.
Searches were made for the eleventh villager, who is feared also to be dead.
Local sources reported that none of the victims sustained gunshot wounds; all except one of the bodies were discovered with hands tied and throats cut.
Za Op Lin, deputy executive director of the Chin Human Rights Organization, denounced the killings, saying, “It is a war crime – killing a young boy and a journalist.”
He added that the Tatmadaw had recently added reinforcements in Matupi and feared that further human rights violations would occur.
Residents say more than 4,000 people from villages in Matupi have been displaced by fighting since the Tatmadaw launched an offensive in the region shortly after the coup of 1 February 2021. Most of the displaced have found shelter with family and friends across the border in India.
The Chin population of Myanmar is thought to be at least 90% Christian. The Tatmadaw has for many years persecuted the Christian-majority Chin, Kachin and Karen ethnic groups, as well as the Muslim-majority Rohingya.