Myanmar Junta Forces Shoot and Kill Opposition Official in Front of His Family

Military forces in Myanmar’s central Magwe region shot and killed an official from the deposed National League for Democracy (NLD) in front of his wife and children as he attempted to flee arrest, RFA has learned.

Naing Linn, an executive member of the NLD committee in Magwe’s Salin township, had been in hiding since the Feb. 1 coup that ousted the democratically elected government of NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The 45-year-old grocery store operator was having lunch when troops showed up at his shop, one of his colleagues on the committee told RFA’s Myanmar Service.

“Two of them came in undercover, pretending to be shoppers… After they learned he was home, a vehicle arrived with men wearing plain clothes… These men gestured like they were going to shoot him, so he ran away,” said the committee member, who requested anonymity for security reasons. 

“He didn’t run very far. They started shooting and hit him in the leg. We heard them yelling, ‘Are you going to run? Try running now!’ Then we could hear them beating him. Finally, they shot him in the back of the head,” the committee member said.

After the shooting, Naing Linn’s body was taken by ambulance to Salin Hospital, and authorities told his family that they had to pay to retrieve it. But they were not told how much they owed or whom they should pay.

With no one claiming the body, the authorities had it cremated at Salin township’s Zeydi Hla crematorium. Friends and supporters collected the remains and returned them to his family in an urn.

Naing Linn had been a champion of infrastructure projects in his home village of Wunya. He was close to many NLD politicians that he had campaigned for in the 2015 and 2020 elections and had successfully lobbied them to make repairs on roads that connect Wunya to other towns and villages.

He is survived by his wife, his eight-year-old daughter, and his five-year-old son, who witnessed the shooting and immediately went into hiding.

Naing Linn’s wife is too scared to answer phone calls and has decided not to hold a funeral ceremony at their home, his friends told RFA. 

RFA attempted to contact junta spokesperson Maj. Gen. Zaw Min Tun for comment about the shooting, but he was not available. 

The military junta has killed at least 1,080 people for resisting its rule since Feb. 1, according to an RFA tally, 54 of which died within a few hours or days after their arrest.

Naing Linn’s colleague said the shooting was an act of revenge for his political activism. The NLD won in a landslide in every district of the Magwe region in both elections.

“They held a grudge against him. I think they were just so resentful against our party. I recall working together with him when we were campaigning for the party during the elections,” Naing Linn’s colleague said.

“Once the resistance started, we got a lot of assistance from him. He told me to stay in good health and fight until we win. He said when the movement is over, we will meet again,” said his colleague. 

A 37-year-old resident of Salin, who requested anonymity to speak freely, told RFA that Naing Linn had been a model member of the community.

“He was kind and polite to everyone and deserving of our respect and admiration… He spread knowledge and inspired us to fight for the truth. He lost his life for the cause he believed in,” the resident said.

Myanmar’s military government has detained 270 members of the NLD ranging from the party’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi to low-level committee members from rural towns, according to records from the Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP).

Reported by RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Ye Kaung Myint Maung. Written in English by Eugene Whong.