12/20/2021, 11.34
MYANMAR
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Torture and mass killings, the crimes of the Burmese junta

A BBC investigation reveals July massacre of 40 men who were thrown into mass graves. The generals spokesman fails to deny the episodes of violence. In recent days, new combat aircraft, including an ATR, have been inaugurated, despite an arms embargo. 

Yangon (AsiaNews/Agencies) - In July this year Myanmar's military junta carried out a series of mass killings, torturing and burying  at least 40 men in mass graves according to a BBC investigation. The British broadcaster interviewed 11 witnesses and compared their stories with video collected by Myanmar Witness, an NGO that investigates human rights violations in the country.

The massacres took place in Kani province, Sagaing district, in central Myanmar. In the months preceding the killings clashes had intensified between the Burmese army, which in February ousted the civilian government led by Aung San Suu Kyi, and the People's Defense Forces, the ethnic anti-golpe militia. 

The most serious incident occurred in the village of Yin, where the Burmese military tortured and beat to death and then threw at least 14 men into a ravine.

"We couldn't stand to watch it so we kept our heads down, crying." "We begged them not to do it. They didn't care. They asked the women, 'Are your husbands among them? If they are, do your last rites'." A man who managed to escape the killings said that soldiers inflicted horrifying abuse on the men for hours before they died. "They were tied up, beaten with stones and rifle butts and tortured all day," the survivor said. "Some soldiers looked young, maybe 17 or 18, but some were really old. There was also a woman with them." the survivors explained to the BBC. 

In the nearby village of Zee Bin Dwin 12 mutilated bodies were found, including that of a child and a disabled person. It is clear that the military junta has targeted the male component of the population in response to attacks by resistance forces, although family members of those killed have insisted that their relatives were not involved in armed attacks. One woman who said her brother, who was killed by soldiers, "didn't even know how to handle a slingshot."

The BBC turned the accusations over to Burma's Minister of Information and junta spokesman, General Zaw Min Tun, who did not deny that soldiers carried out mass killings. "It can happen," he said. "When they treat us as enemies, we have the right to defend ourselves."

In recent days, during the Burma Air Force's 74th anniversary celebrations, the generals showed off some modified and modernized military aircraft, including an ATR-72 600. The ATR-72 600 aircraft are manufactured in France by ATR, a joint venture between France's Airbus and Italy's Leonardo Corporation. Amnesty International, Italy-Burma.Insieme, Rete Italiana Pace e Disarmo and Atlante delle Guerre recalled that an arms embargo is in place against Myanmar that includes "spare parts" and "a ban on the export of dual-use goods."

According to the monitoring site Acled, there were morè clashes and armed attacks in Myanmar between February 1 and November 26 than in Yemen and Afghanistan.

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