A BBC investigation has revealed that Myanmar's military carried a mass killing of at least 40 civilians in four separate incidents in Kani Township - an opposition stronghold in Sagaing District in Central Myanmar.
Eyewitness accounts detail that boys as young as 17 were tortured first before being buried in shallow graves. The BBC reports that these kills appear "to be a collective punishment for attacks on the military by civilian militia groups in the area, who are demanding that democracy is restored".
Since Myanmar's military coup in February, the military has increasingly been met by resistance from civilian formed militias including the People's Defence Force. Confrontations between these militias and the military intensified prior to these executions in July.
The BBC notes that men were specifically targeted for collective punishment despite the insistence of their family members that they were not involved in these confrontations with the military.
The largest killings took place in Yin village, where at least 14 men were tortured to death before their bodies were thrown in a forested gully, reports the BBC. In the village of Zee Bin Dwin, 13 mutilated bodies were found buried in shallow graves. Amongst the bodies was the small body of a possible child as well as the body of a disabled person. Some of the bodies uncovered had been mutilated.
Since Myanmar's coup foreign journalists have been barred from reporting in the country and most non-state media outlets have been shut down.
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