05/07/2021, 15.43
MYANMAR
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Junta soldiers are 'terrorists'

by Francis Khoo Thwe

Myanmar’s military are back to their old methods: stealing, searching, beating, killing under torture. The fate of 33-year-old Aung Myint Hlaing is a case in point.

 

Yangon (AsiaNews) – More and more people on social media are describing the military junta responsible for the coup d’état and its soldiers as “terrorists.”

The label is not only used to counter the military regime’s use of the “terrorist” label against its opposition, but reflects a broadly held view in the population that the military is reverting back to its cruel old methods, typical of the dictatorship that ruled before the recent short-lived period of democratic government.

Increasingly, soldiers walk through markets taking food without paying, stealing valuables from the homes of suspected activists they search, beating defenceless civilians to a pulp, not to mention abducting people of all ages who go missing without leaving a trace.

Torturing and killing prisoners is another factor that gives Myanmar’s military their “terrorist” quality. One case involves Aung Myint Hlaing, 33, who was arrested on Tuesday in Pyay (Bago Division) in connection with a bomb blast at a branch of the military-owned Innwa bank.

His relatives told Myanmar Now that at first the soldiers said “they only needed to ask him a few questions”. That was the last time they saw him. A few hours later, their neighbours said they saw him being dragged away by soldiers, badly beaten and apparently unconscious.

The next day Aung Myint Hlaing's family was called to Shwetaung military hospital, 20 km from Pyay, to get one last look at his body, in a coffin, with only the head visible, bruises on his face, cheeks and throat.

The military refused to return body, saying they had already dug a hole for him. The victim’s family, who are Buddhist, will go to a pagoda tomorrow to make an offering in Aung Myint Hlaing’s memory. He was a devout Buddhist.

Other well-known cases of killing under torture in prison include those of Khin Maung Latt, campaign manager for Aung San Suu Kyi's party, and Zaw Myat Lin, also a member of the National League for Democracy, who were killed on 7 and 8 March respectively.

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