The bodies of six female medics were found outside a village in Mann Wange, Myanmar, on Saturday just days after they were arrested by army soldiers, local media reports.
The women were traveling with members of the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) in order to offer medical treatment to rural villagers and were ambushed by a troupe of state soldiers in northern Shan's Namkham township.
"The government army attacked us on July 11 at Arlaw village of Mangton township. One [soldier] was killed during the fighting, and six female medics were arrested and taken," Major Mai Aik Kyaw, a TNLA spokesman, said.
Three guns were confiscated from the female medics and they were taken prisoner, survivors said.
Days later, the bodies of the women were found in a forested area just outside a village. The bodies of two of the women had gunshot wounds to their heads and legs, while the other women were covered in bruises and stab wounds, a statement from the TNLA said.
State officials, however, have refused to comment on the incident.
Lway Cherry, an ethnic Ta'ang from Namsang township, said she believed the act of violence was meant as a warning: "Their action could [be intended to] discourage girls and women from working for their people.
"I just want to say that this is a war crime. Instead of killing them, they could have sent them to jail, in accordance with the law."
Violence from state militia has forced nearly 700,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee into the neighboring nation of Bangladesh. Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) reports that between August 25 and September 24, at least 9,000 Rohingya were killed, including 730 toddlers.
Dr. Sidney Wong, medical director at the French Division of Doctors Without Borders, said: "The number of deaths is likely to be an underestimation, as we have not surveyed all refugee settlements in Bangladesh and because the surveys don't account for the families who never made it out of Myanmar."