By THE IRRAWADDY 23 June 2021
Junta troops came to the village and opened fire at random after a fire broke out at the village school around 9pm on Monday, said local residents. At least three villagers were detained by military regime soldiers.One of the detainees, a 30-year-old man, died in custody and his family members were told to collect his body on Tuesday morning. The body was covered in bruises and the man’s skull had been fractured. The two other detainees were reportedly released on Tuesday.
“A fire broke out at the school around 9pm but villagers were able to extinguish the fire. Shortly afterwards, three military trucks arrived and soldiers started firing,” a villager said.
Local residents fled into the forest following the raid. “Many are staying in the forest. Our village is not far from the town, so we are worried that they can come and shoot us anytime,” said a villager.Junta troops also searched houses and stole at least three motorbikes, said Lel Zin residents.
One villager suggested Lel Zin was targeted because of the village’s strong support for the National League for Democracy (NLD).
“Lel Zin is known for its NLD support. During the campaign period [ahead of the 2020 general elections], we had a billboard erected at the entrance of the village saying the whole village would vote for the NLD. Perhaps they [the junta] were angry with that,” said the villager.
Lel Zin is around one mile from Monywa and has over 1,000 households. Junta troops returned to the village on Tuesday at noon, but did not fire shots as almost all the villagers had already fled.