Civilian Dies in Myanmar Junta Custody

By The Irrawaddy 4 August 2021

A civilian detained by the junta for his alleged involvement in bomb attacks has died in military custody, according to relatives of the victim.

The August 1 issue of regime-controlled newspapers claimed that the 23-year-old victim Ko Htet Ko Oo was arrested with two other people and a homemade gun and explosives at a warehouse in Yangon’s Dagon Seikkan Township on July 20.

Ko Htet Ko Oo’s family said that he left his hometown of Pyapon in Ayeyarwady Region on May 15 along with friends to work in Yangon. They learned of his arrest only after it was reported in newspapers.

The picture of Ko Htet Ko Oo (above) published in a junta-controlled newspaper after his arrest.

“Those who arrested him have told us nothing. But we have been told by a reliable source that he is dead. We can confirm that he is dead,” a family member told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday.

The regime had accused Ko Htet Ko Oo of having undergone military and explosives training in Karen State in territory controlled by the Karen National Liberation Army’s (KNLA) Brigade 5. The KNLA is the armed wing of the powerful ethnic organization, the Karen National Union.

Relatives said that they want justice for Ko Htet Ko Oo. The military regime’s spokesperson has not yet responded to The Irrawaddy’s question about his death.

Dozens of people, including members of the National League for Democracy, are feared to have died in military custody since the junta’s Feb. 1 coup. Among the dead are Ko Soe Moe Hlaing, a veteran pro-democracy activist and the younger brother of Lieutenant General Than Hlaing, the junta’s deputy home affairs minister and police chief.

The list of people who the regime accuses of being involved in bomb attacks, published in junta-controlled newspapers.

As of Tuesday, 946 people, including children, have been killed by junta forces since the coup. 5,478 people have been detained and arrest warrants issued for another 1,964 people, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

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