Rakhine villagers dispute police account after man shot dead


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.

Support more independent journalism like this. Sign up to be a Frontier member.

“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.

More stories

Latest Issue

Stories in this issue
Myanmar enters 2021 with more friends than foes
The early delivery of vaccines is one of the many boons of the country’s geopolitics, but to really take advantage, Myanmar must bury the legacy of its isolationist past.
Will the Kayin BGF go quietly?
The Kayin State Border Guard Force has come under intense pressure from the Tatmadaw over its extensive, controversial business interests and there’s concern the ultimatum could trigger fresh hostilities in one of the country’s most war-torn areas.

Support our independent journalism and get exclusive behind-the-scenes content and analysis

Stay on top of Myanmar current affairs with our Daily Briefing and Media Monitor newsletters.

Sign up for our Frontier Fridays newsletter. It’s a free weekly round-up featuring the most important events shaping Myanmar