Chin pastor from Magway Region killed during military interrogation

A Christian pastor was killed during a military interrogation in Magway Region last week after being detained on suspicion of links to the People’s Defence Force (PDF), locals have said.

Salai Ngwe Kyar, 26, from Sidoktaya Township, was arrested while traveling from his village of Thet Kei Taung to Saw Township last Monday.

He was taken to the local police station and then to the No. 20 Defence Equipment Industry factory to be interrogated more, according to Maga, an officer from the anti-junta Magway People’s Revolution Committee.

“I think the interrogation methods there are much more brutal than those at the police station,” he said.

On Wednesday Salai Ngwe Kyar was sent to the Magway General Hospital for medical treatment and his family was notified on the following day that he had died, said Maga, who goes by a pseudonym for security reasons. 

“I think they were forced to send him to the Magway General Hospital when they took the interrogations too far and the township hospital could no longer treat his injuries,” he added.

The exact cause of death is unclear and efforts to retrieve the pastor’s body have so far been unsuccessful. 

“The last follow-up news we received was that his body was still being held at the defence equipment industry factory,” Maga said. “The victim’s family had already fled the town, so we have to deal with getting his body back.”

Myanmar Now tried to contact a junta information officer but all calls went unanswered.

Salai Ngwe Kyar was a member of the Asho Chin ethnicity and was studying theology at the Asho Chin Baptist Seminary in Pyay Township. He worked as a pastor at the Thet Kei Taung village Christian Congregation, a friend said.

“He was such a quiet person. Sometimes, we even had to tell him to live freely with his youth,” the friend said. “He always talked briefly and to the point in a calm and collected manner. He was not just a pastor but also helped with health and education matters in the neighbourhood.”

Scores have been killed during brutal military interrogations since the February 1 coup. 

According to a tally by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, at least 7,916 civilians are being detained by the coup regime and at least 1,325 people have been killed.

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