Two suspected military informants shot dead in Yangon market

Two women were shot dead at the Hledan market in Yangon’s Kamayut Township on Monday morning, according to local residents and police sources.

The victims, sisters Tin Htay Hlaing and Tin Htay Khaing, were gunned down by unknown assailants at around 9am as they were preparing to open their pickled fruit stall at the market, sources said.

“They were sisters and they ran a shop together. They were both shot. One of them died on the spot while the other died on the way to the hospital,” said a man who lives near the market.

According to the man, who did not want to be named, the two women were both members of the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP).

“The entire ward knew that they were military informants, as they didn’t even try to hide it. Soldiers and police officers—especially police officers—were frequently seen going in and out of their house,” he said.

A police source confirmed that Tin Htay Hlaing, who was in her 30s, was killed instantly in the attack, while Tin Htay Khaing, 45, died while being transported to Yangon General Hospital. 

Five bullets were found at the scene, according to the police source, who also confirmed that the two victims and other members of the family were avid supporters of the USDP.

One local resident said that Tin Htay Khaing, the older sister, regularly visited junta personnel stationed at the community hall in Yangon University, while she and other members of her family were also seen openly supporting regime forces during last year’s anti-coup protests.

“When the soldiers were firing weapons at the protesters in Hledan, [the victims’ family] came out of their house and gave them water, soft drinks and betel,” said the local.

A woman who lives in the same neighbourhood as the family said that they are well known for their close ties to the military.

“We’ve been hearing since March or April of last year that they have a close relationship with the military, and were warned by neighbours to be careful around them,” said the woman.

Locals also said that roads around the Hledan junction have been closed since the shooting as the military conducts searches  of people going in and out of the area.

It was not known at the time of reporting if any arrests have been made in connection with the incident.

Last Thursday, junta troops set fires and destroyed several stalls at a market in Hledan following a flash mob protest marking the execution of Salai Tin Maung Oo, an ethnic Chin student leader who was hanged in Yangon’s Insein prison in 1976.

According to a member of an anti-coup group that took part in the protest, the regime forces vandalised the market in retaliation for vendors’ support of the protesters.

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