By THE IRRAWADDY 23 June 2021
Three ethnic Ta’ang, Ko Mai Chit Swe, 24, Ko Mai Naing Laing and Naing Tun Kyi, were from northern Shan State and a Chinese man, Ko Arr T, were going to a chicken farm in Sintgaing Township, according to their families.
Regime-controlled Myawaddy TV said four “terrorists” opened fire on security personnel heading to a People’s Defense Force (PDF) base. Fighting broke out during a search near a PDF base. The regime forces raided the base on Tuesday morning.
The announcement said everyone in the vehicle was killed after it hit a transformer while being chased by the security forces.
Their relatives and residents rejected the regime’s claims.
Ko Mai Chit Swe’s sister told The Irrawaddy that the four were civilians with no connection to guerilla groups.They were on their way to work at a chicken farm, she said.
“They had nothing to do with the PDF. They were workers. They had no weapons,” she said, calling for justice.
She said the families were not told that the four died in a car crash but were instead killed by the regime forces as they shot at the vehicle and threw grenades.
Residents contradicted the regime’s claims they were killed in a car crash by reporting that they saw that the regime forces opening fire and throwing grenades.
Ko Mai Naing Laing’s widow rejected the accusation her husband was a resistance member.
The couple married on June 6. She said Ko Mai Naing Laing called that morning to say they were driving to the chicken farm and were caught in a ceasefire.
Their bodies had not been returned to their families by Wednesday.
“I don’t dare go online and see pictures [of his body]. I just want to say the accusation is wrong and I want the body back,” she added.
Regime pictures spreading online showing eight bodies, including Ko Mai Chit Swe and his three friends.
The photographs show gunshot injuries in their heads and injured shoulders.
Myawaddy TV claimed eight PDF fighters, including the four in the car, were killed and eight detained during the shootout, while some junta troops were seriously injured.
However, the Mandalay PDF’s commander, who is known as Bo Tun Tauk Naing, told The Irrawaddy that only two resistance fighters were killed and six detained.
Source – Irrawaddy News