Former Mrauk-U Administrator Stabbed to Death on Sittwe-Yangon Highway

By Moe Myint 31 January 2018

YANGON – Bo Bo Min Theik, the recently promoted assistant director of the Rakhine State government, was found dead with multiple stab wounds to the chest near the Sittwe-Yangon Highway in Ponnagyun Township on Tuesday evening, sources confirmed to The Irrawaddy.

The victim was formerly an administrative official in Mrauk-U Township.

Rakhine State Parliament speaker U San Kyaw Hla said he had received confirmation of the official’s death from Ponnagyun authorities yesterday. He said Bo Bo Min Theik was killed in his constituency between Tha Yet Cho and Yoe Ngu villages, about 11 kilometers from downtown Ponnagyun.

The apparent murder is the highest-profile slaying of an official in Rakhine State in at least a decade. Bo Bo Min Theik was one of the officials responsible for ordering a deadly police crackdown on Mrauk-U rioters that left 7 people dead and severely wounded 12 others on Jan. 16.

The Ministry of Home Affairs issued a brief statement at 3:25 p.m. on Wednesday saying local police were aware of the incident and had ascertained that the victim was stabbed to death and had also sustained about a dozen injection wounds on his forearms. Police confirmed that the victim was a government administrative director (GAD) based on documents retrieved from his car, which had been set alight at the scene. The ministry said police took the victim to Ponnagyun Hospital around 7 p.m. and his body was later transferred to Sittwe Hospital.

Police have opened a case under homicide article 302, section 144 for abettors of the offense, and 440 for causing grievous harm.

According to witnesses quoted by local media, three people traveling with Bo Bo Min Theik in his private car, a Honda CRV, were later seen fleeing the scene of the attack. The victim’s car was also seen being torched by a group of people. It’s still unclear whether the three suspects were travelling with the official, whether the GAD was driving himself, and whether they were heading to or from Ponnagyun.

According to the Mrauk-U GAD office, Bo Bo Min Theik left the town to return to Sittwe, the state capital, on Tuesday, accompanied by several other people. The department could not clarify whether those people were civil servants or ordinary residents of Mrauk-U.

A woman on the staff of Sittwe General Hospital confirmed that the victim’s body arrived there Tuesday night. At the time she spoke to The Irrawaddy, at around 12 a.m. on Wednesday, doctors were preparing to conduct an autopsy. Neither Ponnagyun police nor Rakhine State police chief Colonel Aung Myat Moe answered The Irrawaddy’s phone calls.

Rakhine State Government Office secretary Tin Maung Swe could not be reached on Wednesday morning.

As of 2 p.m. on Wednesday, the information committee, which normally releases real-time information about Rakhine matters, had not issued a statement.

Public anger at the GAD official over the crackdown prompted the Rakhine government to abruptly transfer Bo Bo Min Theik to Sittwe from Mrauk-U on Jan. 19. However, it’s uncertain whether the official was travelling on official business or making a personal trip at the time of his death.

In response to the Mrauk-U crackdown, the Arakan Army (AA), an Arakanese ethnic armed group based in Kachin and Rakhine, threatened “serious retaliatory measures against the culprits” including Rakhine State government officials and members of the security forces involved in the killings.