The Southeast Asian country has been in turmoil since a coup two years ago, with the military fighting dozens of “People’s Defence Forces” (PDFs) across much of the country.
Local villagers and media have reported killing and burning sprees by junta forces in many parts of the country as they struggle to crush opposition to the coup that ousted Aung San Suu Kyi’s government.
Two rebel groups operating around Shan state - the Karenni Nationalities Defence Force (KNDF) and the Pa-O National Defence Force - said soldiers entered Nam Neint village on Saturday.
After ordering civilians sheltering in a monastery to come out, the soldiers shot dead 33 people, including three Buddhist monks, the KNDF said.
Junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun confirmed there had been clashes in Nam Neint village on Saturday and some anti-coup fighters had been killed.
He also confirmed that some civilians had died in the village, but blamed their deaths on the local PDF fighters.
AFP has not been able to independently verify those involved.
Pictures posted on Facebook by the KNDF showed a bloody aftermath of the incident, with bodies on the ground, including some who appeared to be wearing the saffron robes of the monkhood.
The Pa-O National Defence Force said junta troops had killed 22 civilians including three Buddhist monks.
Its members had found seven other dead bodies but were working to confirm who they were, it added.
AFP yesterday also obtained video from the Karenni Revolution Union (KRU), another anti-junta group operating in the area.
The video showed around a dozen bodies lying in pools of blood on the ground, near a wall with what appeared to be bullet holes in it. Three of the dead are in saffron robes.
‘Shot in the head’
Junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun did not confirm how many civilians had died in Nam Neint village.
He said reports that the military had killed civilians were to create “illusions between local people and the Tatmadaw”, using the word Myanmar’s military refers to itself.
Another series of pictures purportedly taken in the same village were released by a prominent pro-military Telegram channel.
According to AFP digital verification reporters, landmarks seen in the images matched a satellite image of Nam Neint village.
The pictures from the pro-military Telegram channel showed several bodies on the floor, and the account said 24 “PDFs had been shot in the head”.
One picture from the pro-military Telegram account showed three bodies slumped in a corner holding what appeared to be homemade rifles - differing from the KRU video that showed the same bodies, with no rifles visible.
“Disciplining unruly Kayah PDFs,” the text on the pro-military Telegram account read.
Kayah state borders Shan state, and has seen regular clashes between the military and anti-coup fighters, including the KNDF.
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