Rakhine villagers dispute police account after man shot dead

By HTOO HTET | FRONTIER

YANGON — Villagers have disputed an account by police officers and officials of an arrest in Nat Shin village, Pauktaw Township, which ended in the shooting death of the detained man’s brother-in-law on Monday.

Maung Phyu Daung, 29, was struck by a shot to the abdomen from a police officer’s gun after attempting to intervene in the arrest of U Maung Than, his sister’s husband, at around 10:30pm. He was transported to the township hospital, arriving at midnight, but succumbed to his wounds three hours later.

Lt Than Htay of the township police station told Frontier that three officers from the nearby Kyauk Su police outpost had been on patrol with local village tract administrator U Than Maung.

He said they were accosted by an intoxicated Maung Than, who hurled insults at the patrol, and made the decision to arrest him.

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“Maung Phyu Daung followed them, and he and officer U Tun Lin were quarrelling,” Lt Than Htay said. “Maung Phyu Daung tried to take Tun Lin’s gun and then while they fought over it the trigger was accidentally pushed, hitting Maung Phyu Daung in the abdomen.”

Than Htay will be responsible for conducting an investigation into the circumstances of Maung Phyu Daung’s death and the conduct of his three subordinates on the evening.

His account was backed by the village administrator, but has since been fiercely disputed by others present during the arrest, including Kyauk Se resident and friend of the relatives Daw Soe Than Chay.

“While they were sitting under a tree in my backyard, the administrator and police came to arrest them,” she told Frontier. “I saw U Maung Than had been handcuffed. The man who was killed was speaking to them. He was asking them not to arrest his brother-in-law and said he would come and settle the problem in the morning.”

“But at that time the administrator told the police to take U Maung Than without regard to the others or to shoot them if necessary… Maung Phyu Daung didn’t try to take the gun. It had nothing to do with him.”

Maung Than told Frontier on Tuesday that Maung Phyu Daung’s death should not have happened.

“My brother-in-law was innocent. I want authorities to take action against the administrator who asked the police to shoot and the policeman who shot him,” he said.

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