Teens shot, arrested and tortured by junta in Sagaing Region

January 5th, 2022  •  Author:   Ko Min Khant Zaw (aka) Ko Min Khant and Ko Aung Pyae Phyo (Taze Township)  •  4 minute read
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Demonstrators carrying a student union flag march during an anti-military coup protest in Mandalay on 12 May 2021 (EPA)

Video footage and photographs showing the 19- and 17-year-old being tortured in military custody are posted on a military propaganda Facebook page hours after their arrest

By Myanmar Now

Junta troops shot at a 19-year-old man and a 17-year-old boy on a motorcycle on Tuesday morning and took them into military custody in Sagaing’s Taze Township, a member of the student union at Sagaing Education College–where the older victim was enrolled—said.

Both residents of Taze, Min Khant Zaw and Aung Pyae Phyo were on their way to Khin-U Township when they were assaulted and detained by the military.

Citing eyewitnesses, a Taze local said that Aung Pyae Phyo—the younger of the two—was shot in the thigh while being placed under arrest near Ngatan village, five miles east of Taze town.

“I don’t know if Min Khant Zaw was shot. We haven’t heard anything else about them yet,” he said.

A video of the young men being subjected to psychological torture was posted on a military propaganda Facebook page on Tuesday evening.

The student union representative expressed concern for both of the detainees’ well-being.

Ko Min Khant Zaw

“I don’t think they will be able to get medical attention. We’re very worried for their lives,” the representative said. “Frequent battles have also been breaking out in their region. We’re worried especially because they were arrested under suspicion of being part of the PDF,” he said, referring to the People’s Defence Force, which has been fighting the junta.

The 43-second video indicated that men—presumably military personnel and not visible in the frame—forced the victims to repeatedly yell “We are Mingin PDF” and “The revolution must fail.”

Mingin, also in Sagaing Region, is a stronghold of the anti-dictatorship movement and the armed resistance to the coup regime. Min Khant Zaw was seen in the video with his hands tied behind his head and Aung Pyae Phyo was seen with his hands tied behind his back and with a bandage on his right thigh, presumably where he had been shot. Both were seated on the ground and appeared to be in emotional distress.

Two other photos also showed the victims handcuffed and chained with several bruises on their faces. Min Khant Zaw’s hair appeared to have been shaved or pulled out.

Myanmar Now remains unable to confirm where the teenagers were being held.

“I don’t know why they keep taking students and accusing them of being PDF members. Another comrade of ours was also arrested a month ago and he died the following day. That’s why we had to issue a statement as soon as possible,” the student union representative said.

He was referring to 24-year-old Comrade Hnin Aung—also known as Comrade Aung Ba Nyo—who was shot and arrested in Kanbalu Township in Sagaing Region on December 3. Photographic evidence of him being tortured to deaht went viral on social media the following day.

Hnin Aung was a former central committee member of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions.

Data released by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) on January 4 revealed that more than 10,000 people have been arrested by the junta since the February 1 coup, and around 1,500 have been killed during that same time period.

The military typically responds to the AAPP’s statements by dismissing the organisation as illegitimate and their numbers as inflated. AAPP maintains that their figures are compiled using publicly available information and that the actual numbers of those victimised may be much higher.

Burmese version.

Original Post: Myanmar Now