Villagers say Zeyar Lin was not involved in with any guerilla groups, but he may have been singled out because of his tattoo of the detained leader
By Myanmar Now
A man died in regime custody earlier this week after troops raided his village in Sagaing Region and detained him on suspicion of starting a fire at a local school.
Zeyar Lin, 33, was among six men arrested in the raid on Lelzin village in Monywa Township on Monday.
The others were Kyaw Nanda, Aung Aung, Kyaw Myo Htwe, San Min Htet, and Ba Chit, who also goes by the name Chit Tun Naing. Their whereabouts and condition is unknown.
On Tuesday, volunteers from the morgue at the Monywa Public Hospital told Zeyar Lin’s wife to come and retrieve his body, which bore signs of torture.
“The back of his head was split open. There were about three inches of bruises all over his cheeks, chin and forehead,” a Lelzin villager who is now in hiding told Myanmar Now.
The roughly fifty soldiers who came to the village also viciously beat about 15 people who they saw in the street, according to locals.
“Their hands were bruised. One person… had bruises all over his back and it was pretty bad. He couldn’t even sleep laying on his back,” another Lelzin local said.
Several villagers said the fire that prompted the soldiers’ arrival was accidental. “The snitches in our village called them even though it was just a small fire. We didn’t even see the flames,” the second villager said.
Unidentified attackers have targeted schools across the country in recent weeks with arson and bomb attacks, in what may be attempts by anti-regime groups to bolster a nationwide boycott of the junta’s education system.
But villagers said Zeyar Lin, who leaves behind a 10-year-old daughter and five-year-old son, had not taken part in any guerilla activity.
“The guy killed was not involved in anything. But he had tattoos of Amay Suu and Bogyoke Aung San,” the first villager told Myanmar Now, referring to the detained civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her father, the independence hero of the Bamar majority.
Zeyar Lin’s wife, Ohnmar Khine, said hospital staff told her that the body arrived in a military truck at around 3am on Tuesday.
Her husband was arrested while on his way to visit his mother, who lives near the school where the fire broke out, she added.
The military council announced in several newspapers on Wednesday that security forces arrested six men in relation to the fire and also seized weapons.
The report was accompanied by a photograph of the men, including Zeyar Lin, after their arrest. He did not appear to have any life-threatening injuries in the picture and the report did not mention that he later died.
On Wednesday, a local guerrilla group responded to the raid by shooting at the home of an alleged informant in the village. The target was not injured but his daughter was killed, according to several Lelzin locals. Myanmar Now was unable to confirm the details.
The attack led to another raid by the military, during which four more people were arrested as soldiers fired their guns repeatedly.
The village now lies virtually abandoned, with only those who support the military left behind. “They opened fire so many times at the entrance to the village,” said the second villager. “Everyone in the village fled.”
Original Post: Myanmar Now