‘I can’t forget her’- Myanmar’s soldiers admit atrocities

Soldiers in the Myanmar military have admitted to killing, torturing and raping civilians in exclusive interviews with the BBC. For the first time they have given detailed accounts of widespread human rights abuses they say they were ordered to conduct.

Warning: This story contains descriptions of sexual violence and torture

“They ordered me to torture, loot and kill innocent people.”

Maung Oo says he thought he had been recruited to the military as a guard.

But he was part of a battalion who killed civilians hiding in a monastery in May 2022.

“We were ordered to round up all the men and shoot them dead,” he says. “The saddest thing was we had to kill elderly people and a woman.”

The testimony of six soldiers, including a corporal, plus some of their victims provides a rare insight of a military desperate to cling to power. All of the Myanmar names in this report have been changed to protect their identities.

The soldiers, who recently defected, are under the protection of a local unit of the People’s Defence Force (PDF), a loose network of civilian militia groups fighting to restore democracy.

The military seized power from the democratically elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi in a coup last year. It is now trying to crush the armed civilian uprising.


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