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Myanmar anti-junta leader said to have been tortured to death

An anti-regime People’s Defense Force leader in Yangon was allegedly tortured to death by members of the Myanmar military and pro-junta groups, one of the man’s colleagues told RFA on Friday.

Chan Min Naung, a former aid worker who became an anti-junta militia leader in Yangon’s Kyauktan township following the February 2021 coup, was captured after a group he was leading assassinated a local junta administrator on April 2.

Before he was killed, Chan Min Naung was repeatedly cut with a knife, pinned down while his legs and hands were broken, and then beheaded, members of the Kyauktan People’s Defense Force (PDF) said.

The PDF is the armed wing of the National Unity Government (NUG), a body of democratically-elected legislators and officials that is widely accepted by Myanmar’s civilian population to be the legitimate government of the Southeast Asian nation.

RFA could not independently confirm the report about Chan Min Naung’s death or reach his family.

Junta spokesman Maj. Gen. Zaw Min Tun was not available for comment.

Chan Min Naung’s alleged killing followed the murder of Soe Moe, who was the administrator of the township’s San-gyein-hmi ward. He was shot dead on April 2 by an anti-junta group that calls itself Che Guevara and works under the Kyauktan PDF.

Soe Moe had been accused of being an informer to the regime and selling public land for personal gain.

The Kyauktan PDF said it assigned a group of hitmen to kill Soe Moe after he did not heed a warning to stop his activities. In an attack led by Chan Min Naung, Soe Moe was shot and died as he arrived at a hospital. A deputy administrator was also killed.

But colleagues of Soe Moe were able to detain Chan Min Naung, Kyauktan PDF leader Dee Par said.

“The main guy who got him was a city development worker in our town known as James Bond,” he said. “The ward administrator’s thugs also stabbed Chan Min Naung and later dragged him by a rope from the rear of a car. That must have been about 1,500 yards from San-gyein-hmi’s Sixth Street to Shwe Hmaw Wun Hall.”

Chan Min Naung was later tortured to death by military intelligence personnel and other local councilors at Shwe Hmaw Wun Hall, he said.

“They stabbed him in the back of his left palm,” Dee Par said. “They sliced his hands and ears and pulled his hair out. They also broke his legs and arms and left him in the rain tied to a post. They kicked him in the groin and carried on with their questioning.

“We later learned that Chan Min Aung was decapitated and cut into pieces and buried,” he said.

Chan Min Naung’s body was not turned over to his family, though authorities told them that the man had been buried, he said.

A photo obtained by RFA shows a stab wound in Chan Min Naung’s left palm and facial injuries. Dee Par said the photo was taken by one of the questioners while Chan Min Naung was being interrogated at Shwe Hmaw Wun Hall. The photo was later leaked to the local PDF.

Chan Min Naung’s relatives have been threatened by the military, Dee Par said.

The PDF leader, who was divorced and had a five-year-old daughter, was active in his community and in charity events before the coup.

Lin Thant, the NUG’s representative to the Czech Republic, said the shadow government would take steps to address Chan Min Naung’s murder.

“We have seen many evidence of such brutal torture committed by the junta’s forces,” he said.
“When their officers and troops are captured on the front lines by our units, the NUG has a policy to treat them well as prisoners of war and to give medical attention if needed.”

“Comparatively, the inhuman acts of the military against the detainees were so brutal they could be seen as war crimes,” he said. “We are collecting evidence and preparing work on many things so that we can submit the cases to the international courts.”

Translated by Khin Maung Nyane for RFA’s Myanmar Service. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.