Mandalay Region teacher participating in CDM dies hours after arrest by the junta

A teacher from Mandalay Region’s Thabeikkyin Township who had been taking part in the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) was arrested on Wednesday afternoon. Within hours, his family was notified that he had died at an interrogation centre.

Zaw Min Aung, 40, was a high school teacher participating in a general strike across Myanmar in accordance with the CDM, which aims to topple the junta that seized power in February’s military coup.

He was arrested from his home in Myintha village at around 11am by a large group of soldiers and policemen.

A local teacher told Myanmar Now that the victim’s family was notified at around 5pm by officials from the police station in the nearby village of Kyar Nyat that he had died.

“We were only told that he died during the interrogation. We don’t know the exact cause of his death. His body was all wrapped up with only his face exposed,” the teacher said, adding that Zaw Min Aung was reportedly cremated at the Kyar Nyat cemetery.

Another local said that it was likely that Zaw Min Aung was wrongly flagged by a military informant as being involved in the anti-coup movement beyond his participation in the CDM, and was subsequently targeted.

“He was a very honest and quiet person. He liked to help people, too. His only political action was taking part in the CDM. I think he was tipped off to the military by an informant,” the local man said.

Another Myintha resident, 30-year-old Moe Kyaw, was also arrested for shouting warnings to villagers that junta troops had arrived on Wednesday. He was later released from the Kyar Nyat police station, but was reportedly tortured during his interrogation, another villager told Myanmar now.

Of Zaw Min Aung, the latter villager said, “it saddens me a lot to see that a teacher from our village had to face such a fate.”

Myanmar Now tried to contact the Kyar Nyat police station in Thabeikkyin regarding the arrests and the teacher’s death, but all calls went unanswered.

Zaw Min Aung leaves behind a wife and two young sons.

Other teachers participating in the CDM have been recently targeted in Mandalay Region, arrested and killed in military custody.

Thein Zaw, a teacher from Kin village in Madaya Township, was accused of supporting the anti-coup People’s Defence Force and kidnapped by the military on October 6. He was forced to guide his captors to his home three days later, and was killed en route. His body was disposed of by the junta’s armed forces near the village cemetery.

Win Lwin, from Ywar Bo village in Sintgaing Township was also arrested on November 1 and died one day later in military custody.

Villagers in Leik San Khun in Amarapura Township tore up a notice posted on the junta’s local administration office, threatening teachers with death if they did not return to work.

Soldiers responded by carrying out a raid on a group of locals preparing for a wedding, and beating those present.

Thabeikkyin Township was once the site of mass demonstrations against military rule, but the protests waned after leaders were forced into hiding by the junta’s crackdowns.

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