The authorities blamed the victim’s death on the cold, but witnesses said his body was covered with bruises
By Myanmar Now
The family of a man who was taken from his home by alleged members of the pro-military Pyu Saw Htee group on Saturday was informed the next day that he had died, according to residents of the village where the incident occurred.
Ye Win Zaw was abducted by four men who accused him of being a thief, a local woman from Lelthit, a village near the town of Myingyan in Mandalay Region, told Myanmar Now.
“They broke into his house and forcibly took him. They said he was a thief and beat him,” said the woman, who added that the authorities blamed the victim’s death on the cold, despite the fact that his body was covered with bruises.
The family was contacted the next morning and told to collect the body from a village school where junta troops are currently stationed. A funeral was held later that day.
“He never had any dispute with the Pyu Saw Htee. Their family is very poor as well,” said the woman.
The four men who took him were identified by locals as Aung Moe, Maung Min, Ko Pauk and Aung Zaw Tun. All four are Lelthit residents believed to be members of Pyu Saw Htee, a group that has been involved in attacks on anti-regime forces.
According to another Lelthit resident, the military said it had nothing to do with the victim’s death, but provided his wife and four children with 1.9m kyat (more than $1,000) from the village’s funds as compensation.
Myanmar Now tried to reach junta officials and the family of the victim for more information regarding the incident, but all calls went unanswered.
According to residents, soldiers currently stationed in Lelthit shot and killed a 16-year-old high-school student and arrested several villagers when they first arrived in May.
Since then, Pyu Saw Htee members have stolen property from the homes of National League for Democracy (NLD) members and supporters who fled the village and also commandeered a vehicle that had been used for emergency healthcare needs, locals who spoke to Myanmar Now alleged.
The Pyu Saw Htee emerged earlier this year as a pro-military force that targets opponents of the junta that seized power in February. The military has denied backing the group.
In late June, a Pyu Saw Htee group in Myingyan released a list of 38 NLD members and supporters that it said it was targeting. Days later, two former party executives were murdered.
According to witnesses, the gunmen who carried out the attack on married couple Moe Hein and Su Su Hlaing yelled, “This was done by the Pyu Saw Htee!” before shooting them.
Original Post: Myanmar Now