Burmese teacher turned activist killed amid junta-led violence in Sagaing region – Radio Free Asia

When May Hnin Aye, a middle school teacher and mother of a one-year-old son, joined a protest movement against the junta that took control of Myanmar last February, she lost her job and source of income and was forced to flee her home. in Homalin, a town in the turbulent Sagaing region with several military bases.

She moved with her parents to the northern Kawya region and found work as an online salesperson. As she worked peacefully to pressure the military to relinquish power, May Hnin Aye was still able to provide financial support to her family and also helped a former student in need, an example , according to a former colleague, for his generosity and ingenuity.

But personal affairs brought her temporarily back to Homalin last month, and on October 24, as she and her husband were sitting on their veranda, three men dressed in civilian clothes got out of a white car and started walking. Pull.

The men chased the couple as they rushed into the house. Bullets hit May Hnin Aye’s arm, thigh and chest, killing her, said Kyaw Win Sein, her brother-in-law and leader of the protest. No one else was injured.

May Hnin Aye was one of more than 200,000 Myanmar educators who quit their jobs to join the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) after the military wrested control of the country from its democratically elected government in a coup on February 1. Doctors, nurses, engineers and bankers have also joined the movement, with work stoppages aimed at forcing the junta to back down.

In recent months, the military regime has targeted members of the MDP in a violent crackdown on strikers and protesters. The junta has pressured some teachers and others to return to work, although many continue to participate in anti-government protests.

Friends and relatives believe May Hnin Aye was not targeted for her involvement in the CDM, but rather as part of a politically motivated act of revenge due to her association with Kyaw Win Sein, a student activist well-known wanted by the military junta as a suspect in the murders of members of pro-military militias.

On the morning of May Hnin Aye’s death, Maung Mawt, a suspected military informant identified by residents as a leader of the Pyu Saw Htee group in Homalin commune, was shot dead.

Pyu Saw Htee is a group believed to have been formed with military support to counter the anti-regime resistance movement in Myanmar’s Sagaing region and elsewhere.

“We believe it was a plot of a Pyu Saw Htee faction and the military because they acted so boldly and calmly,” said Kyaw Win Sein, former president of the Mandalay University Students Union, a group that produced several participants in the protest.

Kyaw Win Sein has denied participating in the killings of Pyu Saw Htee members.

Burmese teacher May Hnin Aye in an undated photo. Credit: May Hnin Aye / Facebook

His death is a “huge loss”

The May Hnin Aye shooting was not the first act of violence against the family. On October 18, junta forces torched his family’s convenience store at Homalin Market, Kyaw Win Sein said.

Homalin police said they were investigating the murder of May Hnin Aye. But in the next two weeks, no one was arrested for the crime.

“The whole town knows who killed her,” Kyaw Win Sein said. One of the attackers was plump, had long hair and appeared to be a town resident, he said.

“Currently there is no justice,” he said. “When this revolution is over, we will file a complaint against these perpetrators. “

May Hnin Aye graduated from Monywa University and worked as a teacher at a public school in Parhok village, which borders the Sagaing region and neighboring Kachin state.

A former colleague, who declined to be named for security reasons, said her death was a “huge loss” to the community.

“May Hnin Aye has always been active and could lead all activities,” said the colleague. “She had given as much support as possible to the poor students in the school. She also motivated others to give support to the needy.

“I am very sorry that this murder took place at such a time,” the source added. “It shouldn’t happen again. Our CDM heroes, our teachers, have already given up their careers. They shouldn’t give their lives like that.

At least three teachers participating in the MDP have been killed so far and more than 100 arrested, according to the Bago Township Basic Education Teachers Union.

At the request of her parents, May Hnin Aye was buried in her hometown of Kawya.

Nine months after the military coup, junta forces killed 1,242 civilians and arrested at least 7,038, according to the Bangkok-based Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners, mainly in the crackdown on anti-political protests. junta.

Reported by the Myanmar service of RFA. Translated by Khin Maung Nyane. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.

Burmese teacher May Hnin Aye (C), her husband and their son in an undated photo. Credit: May Hnin Aye / Facebook

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