Junta troops kill 4 in post-amnesty Myanmar prison riot

Eight more were injured after police, guards and soldiers opened fire on the inmates, an advocacy organization said.
By RFA Burmese
2024.04.19
Junta troops kill 4 in post-amnesty Myanmar prison riot People waiting for prisoners to be released in front of Myitkyina Prison on April 17, 2024.
Citizen journalist

Prison and junta authorities killed four inmates following a protest in northern Myanmar jail, a resident told Radio Free Asia on Friday. 

Following the junta’s amnesty of over 3,000 prisoners on Wednesday for Burmese New Year, some inmates who did not get chosen for early release started a riot in Kachin state’s capital at Myitkyina Prison the following day. 

A Myitkyina resident who wished to remain anonymous for security reasons told RFA inmates started protesting on Thursday afternoon, calling the amnesty unfair. 

“The protest has been going on since around noon. The crackdown started at 4 p.m. Four inmates were killed and eight were injured. I don’t know who died,” he said. “But I have seen that the [dead] were taken out by ambulance along with the Red Cross. It calmed down again at 8 p.m. last night.”

The dead and injured were taken to Myitkyina Hospital, guarded by junta forces he added.

The junta has not released any information regarding the protest or casualties. 

RFA reached out to Kachin state’s junta spokesperson Moe Min Thein, but he did not answer the call.

The Myanmar Political Prisoners’ Network said in a statement that police, soldiers and prison authorities opened fire several times on the prisoners, adding that it is still investigating the circumstances that led to the injuries and deaths. 

On Wednesday, junta officials released 42 inmates from Myitkyina Prison for a Burmese New Year’s day amnesty,

Among them, only three political prisoners were released, including Kachin Baptist Convention advisor and reverend Hkalam Samson, former Kachin State Social Affairs Minister Nay Win and former immigration minister Zaw Win. 

Hkalam Samson was re-arrested on Wednesday night. He was originally taken into custody in December 2022 and sentenced for three charges, including incitement to terrorism and unlawful association after praying with other Christian members of the shadow National Unity Government, which formed after the 2021 military coup to oppose the junta. 

Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Kiana Duncan and Mike Firn. 

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