The regime released 50 men and women it had abducted to use as human shields for its soldiers as they travelled through Shwegu Township in Kachin State.
A local source, who doesn’t want to be named for fear of reprisals, said the army forced villagers from Thayar Kon to walk in front of them and carry food and military supplies while they were on patrol. Some of them were arrested while they were working in their rice and vegetable farms outside their village.
“After the Burma Army (BA) caught them, the soldiers started torching the houses in the village. When they looked up to see the burning houses, they kicked them in the face with their boots,” he said.
At least six people suffered serious injuries in the attacks. The soldiers burnt down three houses in Thayar Kon, which consists of about 200 houses and is located on the banks of the Irrawaddy River, about 7 miles from Shwegu town.
The military released the villagers near Kyauk Gyi on 8 September, two days after their abduction.
Since last year’s coup, there has been repeated fighting in Shwegu Township between BA and allied forces, the Kachin Independence Army and the People’s Defence Force.