Military forces immediate cremation of shooting victim, claiming she had Covid-19 

A 19-year-old woman bled to death after being shot by the junta’s armed forces in Kalay, Sagaing Region last week, but her relatives said the military forced them to cremate her immediately, claiming she had Covid-19. 

Mai Nuam Za Thiang was shot in the thigh by regime troops while she was riding on the back of a motorcycle with 24-year-old Salai Ngun Naing Pan in Kalay’s Taung Phila ward at around 9pm on June 23. He was shot in the chest and died at the scene.

“Their post-mortem report said that the girl died of excessive bleeding. However, the body was sealed and returned to us with the claim that she had Covid-19,” a family member of Mai Nuam Za Thiang told Myanmar Now. 

The relative said that the family only found out about her death on the afternoon of June 24 while they were visiting the Kalay Military Hospital.

The military hospital told her family that she died one hour after arriving there the previous day. 

Mai was traveling from Zawlnu village to Kalay on a motorbike that had belonged to a relative, and was in good health with no symptoms related Covid-19, the family member said.  

“I think they wanted to hide something, so they used that label [of Covid-19]. We could see only the report they gave us, and her face, so we were forced to accept what they said,” said the relative. 

The body was transported from the military hospital to Tahan cemetery and immediately cremated by the family. Mai had recently passed her high school matriculation exam, and had been preparing to go to university.

The body of Salai Ngun Naing Pan, the man who was driving the motorbike carrying Mai, was abandoned by the junta’s forces in an alley near a driving school and was found by his family the following morning, on June 24.

“His body had been dragged off the tarmac to a hidden corner—there were a lot of blood stains on the tarmac—as if a tiger dragged off the body,” his relative said. 

Kalay, in western Sagaing Region, was among the first towns to carry out armed resistance against the military junta; the Tahan protest stronghold there was prominent in fighting the regime’s deadly crackdown on peaceful protesters.

Amid continued assaults on civilians by the coup regime, Kalay is also struggling with a new wave of Covid-19 infections. 

Myanmar’s military council has imposed stay-at-home orders on Kalay and Tamu in Sagaing region and Tonzang in Chin State since early June. Kalay has seen around 100 deaths related to the Covid-19 complications, local media outlet Chin World reported on Saturday. 


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