Myanmarese troops have killed and burned the bodies of 11 people who had been rounded up in a village in the center of the restive East Asian country, local residents and media outlets say.
Video footage purportedly showing the atrocity was circulated on social media on Wednesday, in addition to relative images published by the local news portal Myanmar Now.
The charred remains were discovered in a village in Sagaing, an area that has seen fierce battles between Myanmarese soldiers and militia forces set up by the opponents of the ruling military junta since a February 1 coup that ousted an elected government, local residents said, adding that some of the victims had still been alive when set ablaze.
A volunteer aid worker in the area, speaking on the condition of anonymity, added in a telephone interview with Reuters that troops had entered Don Taw Village early on Tuesday and the victims were killed at around 11 a.m. that day, according to the report, which noted that it could not independently verify the authenticity of the information about the latest massacre.
"The troops were just brutally killing anyone they could find," the aid worker said, pointing out that it was not clear if the victims were militia members or ordinary civilians.
A local member of the opposition-led People's Defense Force (PDF), identified as Kyaw Wunna, also said by telephone that troops had arrived in the village while firing their weapons and those detained had been taken to a nearby field before being killed.
Another volunteer aid worker cited in the report added that nearly 3,000 people had fled from five villages in the area and had gone into hiding, fearful of more arrests and killings.
A relative of one of the victims said the dead man, Htet Ko, had been a 22-year-old university student and not a member of any militia and was not armed.
"This is inhumane. I feel deep pain in my heart," said the relative, who said the man had tried to flee, but had been wounded by gunfire.
Moreover, a spokesperson for a shadow civilian government set up following the coup, identified in the report as Dr Sasa, alleged that the victims had been "lashed together, tortured, and ultimately burned alive."
"These horrific attacks show that the military have no regard for the sanctity of human life," added Dr Sasa, who also listed the identities of the 11 victims — all male and including a 14-year-old boy — in a social media post.
The development came just two days after Myanmar's junta forces rammed a military truck into protesters taking part in a peaceful anti-coup rally in the capital, Yangon.
At least five people were killed and dozens were injured in the Sunday morning incident, in which the army vehicle struck the crowd from behind, according to witnesses said.
Myanmar has been in turmoil since its military overthrew former leader Aung San Suu Kyi's government back in February, with widespread protests and the formation of the PDF militia in a bid to take on the well-equipped army.
The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), a monitoring group cited by the United Nations, says more than 10,700 civilians have so far been detained and 1,300 killed by security forces since the military seized power.
The military, however, claims that the AAPP is biased and uses exaggerated data and that hundreds of soldiers have also been killed.
The Myanmarese military previously faced international condemnation for killing, torturing, and displacing more than 700,000 of the country's minority Rohingya Muslims, in collusion with local Buddhist mobs and support from Aung San Suu Kyi.