Lives snuffed out via Myanmar’s junta — Radio Unfastened Asia


Editor’s observe: This tale incorporates descriptions that some readers would possibly in finding stressful. Reader discretion is suggested.

The struggle engulfing Myanmar within the wake of the 2021 army coup has ended in the deaths of loads of civilians and unusual individuals who took up fingers to struggle junta troops, who’ve raided and razed villages, bombed them from the air and rounded up loads for detention, torture or fast execution.

Those are the tales of 4 other folks – a tender couple, a veteran photographer and a nurse – who died ultimate month.


The younger couple was once giddy with pleasure at the eve in their wedding ceremony.

Ma Cho, 24, and her fiance Ko Pay, 19, had been comrades-in-arms within the anti-junta resistance, and had been after all going to obtain their oldsters’ blessing to be married. 

It was once Friday, Feb. 17, and the enthusiasts deliberate to spend the evening with family in Thea Taw village in Myanmar’s Magway area sooner than tying the knot in a rite the next day.

Myanmar’s civil struggle had introduced the couple in combination. Within the early days following the February 2021 army coup, Ko Pay – then 17 – participated in non violent protests within the streets. 

However after the junta violently cracked down on dissent, he determined to enroll in the Southern YSO Other people’s Protection Power as a part of the armed resistance in Might of that yr, consistent with Aung Maung, the pinnacle of that PDF.

Ma Cho had lately joined the gang as nicely and the 2 fell in love all through elementary coaching. Footage display them maintaining palms and smiling.

As an alternative, all of it was a nightmare.

Shot within the leg

When they reached their village on that Friday, a unit of junta squaddies raided the village.

The couple fled, however within the rain of gunfire, Ko Pay was once shot within the leg and seized via the troops, who dragged him again to the village, mentioned Aung Maung.

“Ma Cho adopted him, pleading with the junta squaddies that he was once her fiance – the type of love that makes two other folks inseparable, even within the face of threat,” he mentioned. “Ma Cho can have escaped however she didn’t … and the 2 had been stuck.”

The stays of the native Southern YSO PDF camp that was once burned down via the army is observed on Feb. 17, 2023. Credit score: Southern YSO PDF

The junta squaddies interrogated the couple for details about the PDF and tortured them after they resisted, Aung Maung mentioned.

“The junta squaddies beat and tortured Ko Pay. They slapped Ma Cho within the face, kicked and hit her,” he mentioned. “The couple was once significantly tortured.”

Ko Pay was once killed first, in entrance of Ma Cho. Then they killed her via slitting her throat with a knife, Aung Maung mentioned.

Horrified members of the family discovered their our bodies and ready them for burial on Saturday, which was once meant to be their wedding ceremony day.

Video presentations buddies and members of the family wailing in grief close to what seemed to be a funeral pyre, smoke wafting up into the sky.

Ma Cho was once described via those that knew her as “a courageous modern soldier who may undergo the similar degree of fatigue as the lads” in coaching and fearless as a porter wearing army apparatus in the course of combat.

Ko Pay’s pal and fellow paramilitary fighter, who gave his identify as ABC, known as the couple “passionate squaddies” who “fought in combination hand-in-hand.”

“They shared the similar modern spirit, in order that they had been very expensive to one another,” he mentioned. “Even though Ko Pay left Ma Cho in the back of in protection, she adopted him to die in combination as a loving couple.”

Aung Maung mentioned he would struggle to avenge their deaths.

“We will be able to use this unhappiness as certain power,” he mentioned. “We’re going to proceed the incomplete industry of Ko Pay and Ma Cho in preventing towards the army junta.”

Aung Win Htut, a photographer and videographer, was once the landlord of a photograph studio in Mandalay. Credit score: Aung Win Htut Fb


A number of junta squaddies unexpectedly arrived on the house of 52-year-old photographer Aung Win Htut at the night of Feb. 19. They fired pictures into the air and beat him in entrance of his circle of relatives sooner than bundling him into a personal automobile, pronouncing they had to take him away for wondering.

Neighbors and buddies mentioned the warriors fired pictures, slapped his face and beat him in entrance of his circle of relatives sooner than they took him to a neighborhood police station.   

His circle of relatives waited anxiously of their house in Myanmar’s second-largest town, Mandalay. 

It was once unclear why Aung Win Htut were arrested. He was once a supporter of the Nationwide League for Democracy, whose govt was once got rid of via the army’s 2021 coup, however he hadn’t been specifically politically lively. But even so operating a photograph studio, he had an ethnic Shan noodle store within the town.

3 hours handed without a phrase.

In spite of everything, at round 9 p.m., a decision got here from government in Mahar Aung Myay township explaining that there were a mistake and requested that any person pick out him up on his free up, a pal instructed RFA..

“But if the circle of relatives arrived, Aung Win Htut was once lifeless,” the pal mentioned.

His circle of relatives has now not printed what situation the photographer’s frame was once in after they gathered it or whether or not there have been any indicators of torture, out of worry of reprisal. A short lived funeral provider was once held for him on Feb. 21, but it surely was once a personal affair and restricted to near family.

Questions stay

Weeks later, many questions nonetheless stay, together with why Aung Win Htut was once even centered within the first position.

Alternatively, the ones with reference to Aung Win Htut mentioned his unexpected loss of life was once sudden as he hadn’t been affected by any well being situation, and instructed that the government had been responsible.

Additionally they puzzled why he had even stuck the eye of the junta. He most effective used social media to put up photos and movies of himself enjoying the guitar and making a song.

Aung Win Htut’s circle of relatives nonetheless doesn’t know why he was once arrested. Credit score: Aung Win Htut Fb

One pal who had identified Aung Win Htut for almost two decades described him as “kind-hearted” and at all times useful with technical problems associated with pictures. Others known as him “a good looking soul” and expressed disbelief that the government may display such little regard for him and his circle of relatives.

However Bo Bo Oo, the deputy chairman of the NLD in Yangon’s Sanchuang township, mentioned that circumstances like Aung Win Htut’s are changing into all too commonplace for contributors of his birthday celebration within the aftermath of the coup.

In step with the NLD’s human rights analysis division, junta forces have killed a minimum of 84 birthday celebration contributors and officers and arrested a minimum of 1,232 others because the army takeover two years in the past. Of the ones killed, 16 died after interrogation, 8 in jail, one via execution, and 60 others “for no reason why.”

Might Zun Moe was once a 28-year-old anti-military nurse within the civil disobedience motion from Bago’s Okpho township in Myanmar. Credit score: Citizen journalist


It was once past due within the night on Jan. 29 and Might Zun Moe was once exhausted. 

The 28-year-old nurse had simply completed aiding a PDF fighter give start within the Bago mountains simply north of Yangon, and he or she was once taking a look ahead to a couple hard-earned relaxation again house in Okpho township.

Might Zun Moe, whose identify interprets as “Rains of Might and June,” had surrender her activity as a part of the Civil Disobedience Motion after the coup, becoming a member of hundreds of different govt workers – academics, civil servants and clinical body of workers – who protested towards the army via happening strike. 

But if she returned to Okpho underneath escort, junta troops manning an army checkpoint in Tein Nyunt village simply east of the township stopped her car and shot and killed the 2 PDF contributors accompanying her.

They took her into their custody for abetting the armed resistance, assets with reference to her circle of relatives instructed RFA.

Over the following two-and-a-half weeks, squaddies time and again tortured Might Zun Moe on the junta’s native Army and Safety Affairs unit – the name of the game police – in Okpho, consistent with a resident of the township, sooner than raping her, killing her and burning her frame.

“In any case of them had raped her, they made her undress, blindfolded her and made her run away. Then they shot her lifeless,” mentioned the resident, talking on situation of anonymity, mentioning worry of reprisal.

“They took her frame into the trees after that and burned it with gas and a few wooden, however her frame from the neck to the hip wouldn’t burn and the hearth went out. With out burying her, they left her there.”

On Feb. 16, citizens of Okpho found out her stays close to the woods resulting in the mountains.

“Some canine had eaten her flesh … we discovered items of her frame together with her ribs gnawed via canine,” the resident mentioned. “Her lingerie was once lacking.”

Compassionate, with robust convictions

Might Zun Moe had gained a certificates from Yangon Nursing Academy in 2014 after graduating from Pyay College with a big in Myanmar Literature.

Those that knew her described her as a compassionate, hard-working nurse who held robust convictions and was once deeply adversarial to army rule. She was once the primary well being employee in Okpho to enroll in the Civil Disobedience Motion after the takeover and frequently handled contributors of the native armed resistance after they had been injured, PDF contributors mentioned. 

“Might Zun Moe, our liked nurse, used to care for our contributors after they had been in poor health and exhausted from their paintings as porters,” a girl with the fifth Battalion of the Okpho Township PDF instructed RFA.

“Seeing that, we feminine contributors grew to like her and regard her as our personal sister,” she mentioned. “We’re saddened and heartbroken.”

Scientific employees rally in Yangon towards the army coup in Myanmar and insist the discharge of Aung San Suu Kyi, Feb. 10, 2021. Credit score: Reuters

Human rights crew say Myanmar’s army is the usage of rape as a weapon of warfare and has additionally centered well being employees. The shadow Nationwide Team spirit Executive says round 70 medical doctors and nurses within the motion had been killed, greater than 700 injured, and a few 900 arrested because the coup.

Might Zun Moe’s loss of life has left her buddies and members of the family devastated. Her husband, Aung Zin, was once arrested via the junta in early 2021 and sentenced to 3 years in jail for incitement and no person has had the power to inform him she was once killed.

After Might Zun Moe’s arrest, squaddies got here to go looking her house in Okpho’s Aye Mya Thar Yar ward and her circle of relatives is now in hiding.

“Her father was once so traumatized via the scoop of her loss of life that he fell right into a state of outrage,” a detailed pal of the circle of relatives, who declined to be named out of safety issues.

Calls via RFA to Tin Oo, the junta’s financial minister and spokesman for Bago area, looking for touch upon Might Zun Moe’s loss of life went unanswered.

Translated via Myo Min Aung. Edited via Joshua Lipes and Malcolm Foster.



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