Food seller killed at interrogation centre in central Myanmar

Soldiers arrested the man along with his wife, who is still detained in Magway Region

A man was killed at an interrogation centre in Magway Region last week, a day after he and his wife were arrested by soldiers in the river port town of Chauk, according to a local urban guerrilla group.

Kyaw Tint, 50, and his wife, Tin Mar Ni, were arrested on the evening of February 1 by a group of about 15 soldiers at their home in Chauk’s Ward 5. They were taken to an interrogation centre, where Kyaw Tint died the following morning, according to Payta, deputy leader of the Chauk Guerrilla Force (CGF).

The arrested couple sold beans and nuts for a living and had a son and two daughters, according to the CGF.

“We can’t say anything for sure, as we couldn’t see what actually happened inside the interrogation centre. But it was a certainty that they would be tortured there,” said Payta, citing local people’s accounts. 

The interrogation centre, referred to as Na Ga 60 by junta soldiers, is located on Pyihtaungsu Road, which connects Chauk and Seikphyu townships via the Anawrahta Bridge on the Ayeyarwady River. The town of Chauk serves as a river port for transporting petroleum from the nearby Singu-Chauk oil fields.

An officer from a Chauk Township social welfare group confirmed that Kyaw Tint’s body was taken to the cemetery via the Chauk Township Hospital and cremated, but details on his arrest and interrogation are still unavailable.

According to Payta, Kyaw Tint’s body was cremated at the Myaynigone Cemetery. His wife was still detained at the interrogation centre at the time of reporting.

Khin Maung Yi, a member of the Chauk Myoma Market Committee who lived in Chauk’s Ward 10, was also arrested in the area in late January, according to Payta.

“This is not a transparent judicial process. They tortured a man to death. This is not something that can become the norm. This is not only violating human rights but also just downright cruel,” Payta said.

Myanmar Now is still attempting to contact the victims’ relatives regarding the case.

A similar incident took place in the same area in October 2021, when Phyo Wai Tun, the 40-year-old owner of the Tun Lin Zabu hostel, was arrested on suspicion of helping to fund the anti-junta People’s Defence Force (PDF) and was killed during interrogation. Only his ashes were returned to his family.

Some 20 soldiers from Infantry Battalion 13 came to detain Phyo Wai Tun and his two brothers in the village of Gway Pin, some 20km southeast of Chauk, at around midnight on October 30, 2021. They beat the brothers brutally for nearly an hour in their home before taking them away, and there has been no word from Phyo Wai Tun’s brothers since the arrest. 

Pro-junta propaganda channels on Telegram have circulated a claim that Kyaw Tint was taken in for questioning because he was found to have sent funds to the PDF, and that he died of a heart attack during questioning. 

At least 2,951 people have been killed by the military council in total, and a large number of arrests for alleged funding of resistance groups have taken place in the two years since the coup.

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, 13,829 people are currently detained in Myanmar for political activities, of whom 2,317 have received prison sentences.

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