RANGOON — A village representative for Burma’s main opposition party was found shot to death on Thursday morning in a village near the Shan State capital of Taunggyi, a local National League for Democracy (NLD) leader said.
Tin Maung Toe, chairman of the Taunggyi District’s NLD office, said that the victim, Sai San Tun, 47, had been helping local villagers fighting to get back land confiscated by the Burmese military. He was also the vice chairman of the NLD office in Ming Pyin village, which is 30 miles away from the southern Shan State town of Hopone, Tin Maung Toe said.
He said that Sai San Tun was taken away from his house by two men at about midnight on Wednesday and three gunshots were heard minutes later.
“He was found dead outside of his village on Thursday morning with gunshot wounds in the back of his head and wounds on his hands,” Tin Maung Toe said.
“Near his body, three bullet casings and a flash light were found.”
The Burmese military, the Shan State Army-South and an ethnic Pa-O militia are known to operate in the area.
Tin Maung Toe said that the victim had been working to get back villagers’ land that was grabbed by the Burma Army’s Light Infantry Unit 249. Sai San Tun had sent a report about extortion by the village headman, relating to the land dispute, to Hopone Township administrators, he said.
“He was killed while he was trying to give back the villagers back the land, which the military unit already said would be returned. But the village headman was objecting to the return of the land,” he said.
According to Tin Maung Toe, another fellow NLD member was killed in April this year in Shan State while facing trial accused of illegally occupying military-owned land.
“The police should catch the criminals as fast as they can since this is not the first time. We are concerned for our members,” he said.