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Reports of army killing of villagers in Myanmar supported by photos and harrowing tale of a survivor

BANGKOK (AP) — Reports that soldiers of Myanmar’s military government last week carried out a massacre of more than 30 civilians in a village in central Myanmar were supported Monday in interviews with a local administrator and a man who says he survived the killings.

The bloodshed on Saturday morning in Let Htoke Taw village in Sagaing region’s Myinmu township, reported by independent media, was the latest of three mass killings in the past few days in Myanmar’s brutal civil war.

The Associated Press couldn’t independently verify details of what happened, and the military government didn’t immediately respond to an emailed request for comment. It has denied past accusations of attacks on civilians and in some cases placed the blame on resistance forces.

Myanmar has been mired in violence since the military’s February 2021 seizure of power from the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi prompted nationwide peaceful protests that security forces suppressed with deadly force. The violent repression triggered widespread armed resistance, which has since reached the intensity of a civil war.

The other two recent mass killings involved at least 15 people from a resistance group, along with civilians, who were killed in an airstrike while holding a meeting at a monastery in central Magway region on Thursday, and 32 people killed that same day in disputed circumstances in fighting in Mandalay region, also in the central part of the country.

Thirty-three people, including three 17-year-old boys, two older people and three carpenters from a nearby village, were killed Saturday in an army raid on Let Htoke Taw, said a local administrator loyal to the opposition National Unity Government who managed to escape from the village.