Detained chief minister’s former aide accused of masterminding ‘terrorist’ attack in Kyaiktiyo

Myanmar’s military regime has accused a former aide to a detained chief minister of carrying out a deadly attack at famous pilgrimage site in the country’s south last month.

In a statement released on Monday, the military said that Aye Min Tun, a police defector who once worked as an assistant to Dr. Aye Zan, Mon State’s ousted chief minister, had led a group of “terrorists” in a shootout with regime forces at the foot of Kyaiktiyo Hill in Mon State on October 12.

Four civilians—three women and a man—were killed in that incident, which also left at least 18 others, including a police officer, injured.

Most of the victims were religious pilgrims who had travelled to Kyaiktiyo Hill—where a pagoda sits atop a large boulder known as the Golden Rock—to mark the end of Buddhist Lent.

“Based on the accounts of eyewitnesses, it is found that Aye Min Tun, who took refuge in [Karen National Liberation Army] Brigade 1 territory and founded the terrorist group, the Kyaikto Revolution Force, led the shooting of pilgrims,” the military’s statement read.

A person is assisted after being injured during the shooting at the Kin Mun Chaung bus terminal on October 12 (Supplied)

The regime implicated a total of 11 people, including Dr. Aye Zan—who has been in junta custody since the military seized power in February 2021—and other members of the deposed National League for Democracy (NLD) government, in the attack.

Also named were Saw Pa Lay, who is identified as the KNLA Brigade 1 commander, and Dah Ner Htoo, who commands Battalion 3 under Brigade 1. The statement fails to mention, however, that Saw Pa Lay died of natural causes in August of last year.

It was unclear from the statement how most of the accused were connected to the incident, which supposedly involved three NLD MPs from Mon State—Khin Saung, Hla Myint Than and Thiri Yadanar—as well as businessmen Kyaw Myo Min, Aung Kyaw Thu and Khin Toe.

Aye Min Tun did not deny, however, taking part in the attack, which he said targeted junta forces stationed near the Kin Mun Chaung bus terminal, at the base of Kyaiktiyo Hill.

He said that the resistance forces used only light weapons, and claimed that the casualties were all victims of the soldiers’ indiscriminate gunfire.

“They are trying to cover up their shooting [of civilians] by blaming us,” Aye Min Tun said following the release of the statement on Monday.

Myanmar Now has been unable to independently confirm either account of the incident.

Related Articles

Back to top button