Woman known for anti-dictatorship activism shot dead in Htantabin, Bago

An anti-coup activist was shot dead in her home in Bago Region’s Htantabin Township on Sunday night and her daughter was seriously injured in the attack, a relative said. 

Thirty-five-year-old Kalae was a food seller from the village of Kinmoon Chone, and had joined a number of anti-dictatorship protests in the area.

Three unidentified men broke into her home at around 9:30pm and opened fire, according to the relative.

“I heard that Kalae was shot in the chest once. Her daughter was shot in the arm once, in the leg once and in the waist five times,” the relative told Myanmar.

The injured child’s age was unknown at the time of reporting, but she is a Grade 7 student. 

Kalae had two other daughters who were home at the time but were not injured in the shooting. 

Moments after the shots were fired, soldiers and police arrived at the house, took Kalae’s body and transported the injured daughter to Taungoo Hospital. 

Kalae’s body was returned by the military to her family on Monday afternoon and cremated that evening. Her injured daughter was scheduled to undergo an operation the following day. 

Kalae had maintained a good rapport with her community, locals said, with the exception of the 60-year-old junta-appointed village administrator who lived next door. 

“I heard that there were problems between them. They used to quarrel frequently,” a villager said. 

The village administrator reportedly had threatened anti-coup dissidents and civil servants involved in the Civil Disobedience Movement. 

Another local told Myanmar Now that on the night of Kalae’s murder, villagers had heard a man give an order given to shoot and believed it to be the voice of the administrator.

Myanmar Now could not independently confirm the allegations against the accused administrator, and was not able to not contact him.

The anti-coup Htantabin People’s Defence Force made a formal statement on Monday that they were not involved in Kalae’s killing. 

Villagers told Myanmar Now that the junta’s armed forces have made no arrests of suspected perpetrators since the murder. 

They speculated that this was because the victim had partaken in anti-dictatorship activities, and noted that action would have been taken if it was a junta-appointed administrator, Union Solidarity and Development Party member, or a suspected military informant who had been killed. 

When a perceived ally of the junta is murdered, the military typically arrests civilians in the area and subjects them to interrogation. 

Similarly, when two National League for Democracy members were killed on July 2 in Myingan town in Mandalay, the junta reportedly did not conduct an investigation.

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