Activist in Monywa dies after being set on fire in horrific attack

May 16th, 2021  •  Author:   U Sein Win (Monywa)  •  3 minute read
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Sein Win is seen in an undated picture (Supplied)

By Myanmar Now

A pro-democracy activist in the Sagaing Region town of Monywa was murdered on Friday after being set on fire in an unprovoked attack, according to a witness to the incident.

Factory manager Taing Aung said that he was talking to the victim, 60-year-old Sein Win, on Friday morning when a factory worker poured gasoline over his head and set him alight.

“I saw him pour the gasoline and then immediately set him on fire. I shouted and tried to put out the fire on Ko Sein Win,” said Taing Aung, who was a friend of the victim.

“He poured the gasoline on him just like we do with water during the Thingyan water festival,” he told Myanmar Now.

Sein Win was immediately admitted to the Monywa General Hospital, but died at around 11pm on Friday, he added.

“He had severe burns on his legs, hands, and head—almost his entire body. His face was burned black. The skin on his legs and hands peeled off,” said Taing Aung.

The assailant was identified as Aung Ko, a resident of Monywa’s Myawaddy ward. At the time of reporting, he was still at large.

Officials at the Monywa police station could not be reached for comment when contacted by Myanmar Now on Saturday.

Sein Win’s family will hold a funeral for him on Sunday afternoon.

A longtime supporter of the National League for Democracy (NLD), Sein Win had been active in politics since the 1988 pro-democracy uprising and campaigned for the party in the 1990 election.

According to his daughter Thin Thin Nwe, his political activism often made life difficult for him and his family, including his three adult children.

“None of us ever applied for jobs that required documents or references from ward administrators or the police,” she said, explaining that the regime actively discriminated against those known to oppose its rule.

She added, however, that she understood her father’s position because he shared his political beliefs with his children and educated them about the nature of the dictatorship.

As a veteran pro-democracy activist, Sein Win joined anti-regime protests in Monywa soon after the military seized power on February 1. He was also close to youth activists and supported the anti-coup activities of Generation Z protesters in the town.

“He believed this revolution would win. He saw rays of hope, and so do we. I am very sad that my father will no longer be able to see our victory,” Thin Thin Nwe said.

Sein Win was also a charity worker and a lover of poetry whose poems have been published in a number of magazines.

A fellow poet in Monywa who spoke to Myanmar Now on condition of anonymity said that it was unlikely that the motive for the attack was personal.

“He was an honest and active charity worker and political activist,” he said.

At least nine civilians, including poet Kay Za Win and writer Kyi Lin Aye, have been murdered in brutal crackdowns on anti-coup protesters in Monywa.

Monywa-based poet Khet Thi died last week in the regime’s custody a day after he was arrested in Shwebo, another town in Sagaing about 100km from Monywa.

Burmese version

Original Post: Myanmar Now