Man displaced by clashes in Sagaing’s Kani Township dies in junta custody 

A man who had fled to Monywa in Sagaing Region late last year after his home village in Kani Township came under attack was reported dead last Monday, a day after he was taken into custody by regime forces, according to a friend.

Tun Aung Naing, 29, was arrested in Monywa while shopping for groceries last Sunday morning (January 16) and his family learned of his death the next day, said the friend.

“He had many internal injuries from the torture that they inflicted on him. The military forced his family to sign a form saying that he had underlying conditions and that they were not responsible for his death,” he told Myanmar Now.

“He didn’t actually have any pre-existing health issues,” he added.

According to the friend, Tun Aung Naing’s remains were cremated anonymously by a social welfare group because his family was afraid to collect his body.

“Nobody dared to go pick up the body, because they were worried they would be tracked by the military, so he was cremated as a John Doe by a free funeral service,” he said.

Last Friday, junta-controlled state media reported that “armed terrorists” had carried out two murders in Sagaing Region. However, no mention was made of Tun Aung Naing’s death.

Tun Aung Naing and his family previously lived in Winmanar, a village about 80km north of Monywa that saw major clashes last September. 

The Kani People’s Defence Force (PDF) attacked the village’s police station on September 11, but was forced to retreat after the military launched a strike against them from the air. Days later, the junta sent reinforcements to the township.

Myanmar Now reached out to members of Tun Aung Naing’s family for comment on his death, but they declined to discuss the matter for security reasons.

The military routinely arrests anyone it suspects of having ties to PDF groups, including minors. In many cases, detainees have been reported dead within 24 hours of being taken into custody.

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, the regime has killed at least 1,490 civilians since seizing power last February.

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