Unidentified gunmen kill villager at Covid-19 checkpoint

A group of armed men killed a villager in Magway Region’s Myaing Township on Monday while interrogating residents of the village of Paik Thin about a local resistance leader.

The six men arrived by car at a Covid-19 checkpoint set up at the northern end of the village and detained four villagers who were there on guard duty, local sources told Myanmar Now.

With their hands tied behind their backs, the four villagers were beaten repeatedly as they were asked about Hsan Ko, a resident of Paik Thin who has taken a leading role in organizing anti-regime forces in the area.

Later, as the villagers were being forced into the car, one of them, 41-year-old Aung Zeya, attempted to flee and was shot dead by his pursuers, according to the brother of the victim.

The other three men—one of whom was the brother of Hsan Ko—were later released, according to residents.

“Aung Zeya ran away while the gunmen were trying to tie up Hsan Ko’s brother, Min Min. Three gunmen chased and shot him,” said Aung Zeya’s brother Win Naing, citing the released villagers.

He added that most local residents were sheltering inside their homes at the time of the incident due to the risk of Covid-19 infection and so were unable to identify the gunmen. 

After an inspection by local police, Aung Zeya’s body was taken to a morgue in Pakokku, a town about 40km away, for an autopsy. It was later sent back to Paik Thin for cremation, according to Win Naing.

Anti-coup activist Hsan Ko, 22, is the son of an army veteran who now serves as Paik Thin’s village administrator.

Despite his father’s background and current position, Hsan Ko and other members of his family are known to be members of Myanmar’s ousted ruling party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), according to local residents.  

The home of one relative who had put up an NLD signpost was raided by the gunmen, one resident told Myanmar Now.

Paik Thin villagers said they believed the assailants were members of the pro-regime vigilante group Pyu Saw Htee, which has emerged in many parts of the country to counter anti-junta activities.Attempts to reach the Myaing police station for comment on the incident went unanswered.

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