According to individuals who recovered and scrutinized the bodies, it was found that two of the three men, who were abducted as human shields and later killed in Mrauk-U Township, Rakhine State, showed signs of sexual assault.

Mrauk-U in north on Map of Rakhine (Arakan) State Myanmar. Public Domain image.

Map of Rakhine (Arakan) State Myanmar. Public Domain image.

An individual who preferred not to be named stated, “Upon our initial sight of the bodies, we observed that both of their pants were pulled down. Furthermore, evidence of blood in the anus made it evident what kind of sign it was. Additionally, the bodies were seen with their hands tied behind their backs. The scene evoked feelings of sadness and anger.”

On January 9, at midday, following a clash with the Arakan Army (AA), the military junta’s 540th Light Infantry Battalion column re-entered the town, seized three male pedestrians as human shields, fatally shot them, and discarded their bodies.

The individuals who were fatally shot were U Tun Tun Oo, 35, and Ko Saw Tun Naing, 28, both from Shauk Taw Su ward, and U San Shwe Kyaw, 52, from Ah Lel Zay ward.

Those who examined the bodies discovered that among the three individuals, U Tun Tun Oo and Ko Saw Tun Naing had been subjected to sexual assault before they were killed.

Mrauk-U Activists Speak Out

A social activist from Mrauk-U stated, “I am at a loss for words regarding the military’s actions. It is incredibly cruel. Once you are arrested by them, you are essentially considered dead. I am left with no words.”

Regarding this incident, a Rakhine human rights activist emphasized the necessity for the international community to take decisive action against the military junta, pointing out their cruelty towards the people as the conflict intensifies.

“This is undeniably a war crime. Will the international community choose to ignore the military’s actions? We strongly call for effective preventive measures, applied pressure, and decisive action,” he said.

There were at least 15 casualties among the junta forces. In the aftermath, as the significantly weakened battalion retreated into Mrauk-U town, they captured three local residents encountered on the road to use as human shields. After being taken to the 540th Light Infantry Battalion, all three innocent civilians were shot and killed, according to the Three Brotherhood Alliance’s statement on January 9.

Myanmar people fight against military junta. Channel4 youtube screenshot

Myanmar people fight against military junta. Channel4 youtube screenshot

Military Junta Weakens

The military Junta’s forces have been significantly weakened over the past year, but it continues atrocities against journalists and its opponents.

Two months ago, RFA reported “A light infantry battalion with more than 120 troops surrendered to ethnic rebels – the second time in two weeks that a battalion belonging to Myanmar’s military junta has laid down arms to rebel forces in northern Shan state.”

The Arakan Army is an ethnic armed organisation in Rakhine State, the military wing of the United League of Arakan. It is currently led by commander in chief Major General Twan Mrat Naing and vice deputy commander Brigadier General Nyo Twan Awng. The AA was founded on 10 April 2009.