Burmese military personnel interviewed by the British BBC have confessed their involvement in murders, torture and rape committed during the period of repression that began after the military coup d’état in February last year.
One of the military men recounts how the Army entered the village of Yae Myet, in the center of the country, in December last year with orders to open indiscriminate fire on men, women and children, as part of a crackdown similar to the “scorched earth” policy employed against the Rohingya population in 2017 in Rajine state.
“The order was to shoot at anything they saw,” according to Corporal Aung (whose real name has been altered to preserve his identity). The serviceman admits that his unit killed five civilians before following orders to “set fire to all the houses” in the area.
At least one young woman died trapped by the flames during the operation to burn the village, according to Corporal Aung.
The military man also confirms that Army units raped a group of young girls from the village repeatedly over three nights while holding them in the village school.
In total, at least ten people were killed during the operation in Yae Myet and eight underage girls were raped, according to BBC reports.
Other military personnel recount their involvement in another operation in Ohake Pho village in the Sagaing region, where nine other people were killed during a raid in May this year.
More than 10,000 Burmese citizens have been forced to flee the region to escape air strikes by the military regime, while the Ministry of Interior and Immigration of Burma’s civilian government is aware that pro-junta forces have committed nearly 2,800 war crimes across the country from December through May 31 of this year.
Responding to the BBC, Burma Army spokesman General Zaw Min Tun denied that the army had targeted civilians and claimed that the operations against the two villages were legitimate and that those killed were “terrorists.”
The spokesman also denied that the Army had been burning villages and has instead accused the armed resistance forces organized after the coup d’état of carrying out these arson attacks.