Four men killed at military interrogation centre in Mandalay Region  

Four people have died at a military interrogation centre in Mandalay Region after they were taken from their village by soldiers in the early hours of Tuesday morning, a local told Myanmar Now. 

The deceased were among 13 people taken from Letpan village in Natogyi Township at around 1am, the local said. He identified them as Pho Gyi, Kyaw Myo Win and Pho Htaw, who were all 40 and worked as farmers, and 27-year-old Myo Min Htet.  

Junta officials told the families about their deaths on Wednesday, the local added, citing the relatives. 

“We couldn’t go to see the bodies,” he said. “It couldn’t have been natural causes as they were still too young to have any fatal diseases. Us village people are quite strong and adaptable. And they were all men.”

Officials notified the family of Pho Gyi, who also went by the name Myat Moe, that he had died 24 hours after his arrest. 

“I was told that the military said that they accidentally used too much force during his interrogation. They told them to come and collect the body but they didn’t actually let them take it when they went there,” the local said.

The family were allowed to look at the body but prevented from taking any photos. 

“Then we were notified that Kyaw Myo Win was also in a critical condition. He died shortly after that,” the local added.

The villagers do not know what the military has done with the bodies, he said. 

Myat Moe leaves behind a 20-year-old son while Pho Htaw leaves behind a 16-year-old daughter and a 13-year-old son. The other two men were reportedly unmarried without children. 

Their families refused to talk to the media out of fear of repercussions from the military. 

Calls to the Natogyi central police station seeking comment went unanswered. 

The arrest of the villagers came two months after a pro-junta administrator named Sein Saw was assassinated in Letpan, the local said, adding that the official was related to an army officer. 

The village’s residents fled after the killing, fearing a raid by soldiers. They began returning to their homes only recently. 

The status of the other nine villagers who were taken on Tuesday is unknown. They were identified as Khin Maung Than, 70, Aung Ko Lin, a teacher in his 40s, Toe Tint, a 45-year-old teacher, Kyaw Soe Moe, a teacher’s assistant, Ngwe Than, 40, and two 35-year-olds named Mu Mu Win and Mar Mar Aye.

Resistance fighters have killed hundreds of local junta officials and suspected military informants in cities, towns and villages across the country since last February’s coup. 

The military typically responds to the killings by terrorising local civilians. 

At least 1,484 civilians have now been killed by the junta’s forces since the coup, recent figures from the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners showed. 

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