Myanmar Security Forces Snatch the Bodies of Those They Have Slain
By The Irrawaddy 24 March 2021
Security forces of Myanmar’s military regime are trying to seize the bodies of those they killed when they fired on anti-regime protesters, bystanders and pedestrians in Mandalay, the country’s second-biggest city.
A Mandalay-based charity group assisting wounded people and providing funeral services to those killed by security forces told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday that since March 5 they have had to conduct four funeral ceremonies without bodies because those killed had been cremated by the security forces themselves.
The group also said that the number of bodies taken might be higher because many of the dead and wounded were taken away by security forces after a series of recent shootings in the city.
Security forces conducted a series of raids in several wards in Chanmyathazi Township including Aung Pin Lae, Aung Tharyar and Mya Yi Nandar over three days after a confrontation between them and peaceful anti-regime protesters on March 21.
During the deadly raids, at least 20 people were killed and about a hundred were injured, according to residents and charity groups.
On Monday, security forces, claiming they need to conduct an autopsy, interrupted a funeral ceremony in Chanayethazan Township. They took the body of a 16-year-old teashop waiter slain in a Sunday night raid by force.
A video from Mandalay also shows a man who appears to be dead being loaded onto a prisoner transport vehicle by the security forces and people in plainclothes.
On March 4, security forces in Mandalay exhumed the body of a 19-year-old woman who was shot dead by soldiers and police on March 3 in a crackdown against anti-regime protest.
The next day, Myanmar’s military regime refused to admit responsibility for killing the woman, saying the lead in her skull did not match police riot-control rounds. However, media members witnessed security forces also using deadly air-guns firing lead pellets during the crackdown.
Military forces in Mandalay also refused to admit the killing of a 26-year-old man, who died at a military hospital after not getting proper treatment for wounds to his head and his leg received when security forces fired live rounds on Feb.20. Instead, the military insisted the man died of COVID-19.
Charity groups providing funeral services for those killed said that earlier in the conflict between protesters and security forces the military would transfer the bodies of those who were killed to the families after performing an autopsy.
However, they later stopped transferring the bodies back to families.
Mandalay residents believe that military forces want to avoid responsibility for their killing and reduce the death toll by manipulating autopsies.
The elder sister of a 6-year-old girl named Ma Khin Myo Chit, who was shot dead by the security forces on Tuesday afternoon, told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday that they held a funeral ceremony for the girl secretly because security forces are searching them.
The girl was shot to death at close-range during a house raid at Aung Pin Lae in Chanmyathazi Township. The frightened girl was slain while being hugged by her father.
(Initial reports were that Ma Khin Myo Chit was 7 years old. The family now confirms that she was 6.)
During the raid, a 19-old-man, the girl’s brother, was also beaten and taken away by security forces.
The family member said that security forces also searched their house again last night while they all were away from home. Now, they are hiding at another location in the city, the victim’s sister said.
“Their brutal behavior is beyond tolerance. There is no word to describe their actions,” said the elder sister of the 6-year-old girl.
Also, family members of another victim — Ko Chan Thar Htwe, 21, who was shot dead by the security forces on Tuesday’s morning — left their home in Aung Thayar ward in Chanmyathazi Township on Wednesday after security forces began enquiring in the neighborhood about their location.
At a time when there were no protests in the street, Ko Chan Thar Htwe was deliberately shot in the head by security forces from long range while he was in front of his house and attempting to get inside on Tuesday morning.
Ko Than Niang Htun, brother of the victim, told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday that security forces arrived near their home on Tuesday afternoon while they were sending his brother’s dead body to the hospital.
He said that they held the funeral ceremony for his younger brother secretly on Tuesday after moving to two locations.
“Even after my brother has been killed, all our family members had to run away of them,” said Ko Than Naing Htun.
On Tuesday, two more people aged in 36 and 27 were also killed by police and soldiers during raids against the residents at Aung Pin Lae ward in Chanmyathazi Townsip.
During the recent deadly crackdowns in several Yangon’s townships, Bago, Pyay and Mandalay, bodies of victims have been taken away by security forces.
Amid the deadly crackdowns, tens of thousands of people across the country have taken to the streets to defy the military rules.
As of Tuesday, about 260 people have been killed by the security forces of military junta during their shooting against the anti-regime protesters, bystanders, pedestrians and residents.
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