Myingan resistance fighter turns up dead after one day in regime custody, with signs of torture

A 21-year-old resistance fighter from Mandalay Region’s Myingyan Township is believed to have been tortured to death in regime custody earlier this week after fighting to defend a village under junta attack

Family members who retrieved the body of Zin Ko Tun from Myingan Hospital on Thursday afternoon said there were clear signs of torture to the young man, including several blisters on his left arm and a wound on his chest. 

He had been arrested in Talokemyo village one day earlier, a resistance stronghold around 15km from Myingan town on the east side of the Irrawaddy River. 

Preceding his arrest were clashes between local resistance forces and the junta’s armed forces, Zin Ko Tun’s friends and relatives told Myanmar Now. During this outbreak of fighting, he had suffered a bullet wound near his left elbow.

“I believe he died during his interrogation after getting arrested with an injury. We were unable to find out anything about his situation after his arrest,” one of Zin Ko Tun’s relatives said, requesting not to be identified. 

The 21-year-old was a member of the local resistance group known as the Myingyan People’s Defence Force (PDF). He had volunteered to help locals in Talokemyo hold back junta soldiers who were trying to crush anti-regime resistance in the village on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The 20-hour siege on Talokemyo ended on Wednesday with most resistance fighters forced to retreat. Six men, including Zin Ko Tun, were arrested after the military surrounded the village.

On Wednesday night, a military-run TV program announced that the regime forces had arrested six individuals in Talokemyo, but showed a photo of only five young men in captivity—all except Zin Ko Tun. 

After the photo went viral on social media, Zin Ko Tun’s family members feared it was an indication that he had already been killed in regime custody. 

At around 9am on Thursday, a police officer from Myingyan informed Zin Ko Tun’s family members through an intermediary that they needed to collect his body from Myingan Hospital, the relative told Myanmar Now.  

“The man told us that there was a body at the Myingyan Hospital and no one was claiming it. When I arrived at the hospital, I saw a mark on that body which confirmed it was him. So we claimed the body,” the relative said.

The mark in question was a tattoo of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions (ABFSU) flag that Zin Ko Tun had inked on his right arm. It appeared to have been burnt off with a hot iron, the relative added. 

Zin Ko Tun’s body showed signs of torture, including blisters on his left arm, and a wound on the left side of his chest. Photos were supplied by Zin Ko Tun’s relatives.

Zin Ko Tun was a member of the ABFSU as well as the Myingyan Technological College’s the student union, where he was a first-year IT student.  

He was the eighth of nine children and a native of Nyaungto village, on the Irrawaddy’s eastern bank in Myingyan Township. 

His body was transported to Nyaungto on Thursday and family members held a funeral for him on Friday morning.

Since the February 1 military coup, many civilians in Myanmar have been killed during interrogation shortly after being taken into regime custody.

Two of the most high-profile cases occurred in March, when two officials from the National League for Democracy (NLD) died soon after their arrest.

Khin Maung Latt, a ward chair for the NLD in Yangon’s Pabedan Township, died on March 7 after soldiers and police took him from his home during a night raid the day before.

The following day, Zaw Myat Lin, an NLD member who ran the Suu Vocational Institute in Yangon’s Shwepyithar Township, was also arrested by soldiers during a night raid. One day later, township police informed his family of his death and told his wife to go to the Mingaladon military hospital to identify his body. His body, which showed signs of torture, was returned to his family. 

Another victim was Marlar Win, a mother of three who was arrested after being shot while taking part in an anti-coup protest in Pakokku, in Magwe Region. Her family was told to retrieve her body one day after her arrest.

More than 780 people have been killed by the junta’s armed forces since the coup. The regime has dismissed this death toll as inaccurate and made false claims about the murders of some protesters by its police and soldiers, instead attributing their deaths to pre-existing health problems or violence within the resistance movement. 


Related Articles

Back to top button