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Senior retired army officer shot dead by Burmese guerrillas

BANGKOK — A retired high-ranking Myanmar army officer has been shot dead in his home in the country’s largest city, Yangon, in the latest such killing attributed to militants opposed to the army’s rule.

Ohn Thwin is believed to be the highest serving or retired military officer assassinated since February last year when the military seized power from the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi, sparking widespread public opposition.

An urban guerrilla group called Inya Urban Force claimed responsibility for the attack on Ohn Thwin, 72, who had also served as Myanmar’s ambassador to the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and South Africa. His son-in-law was also killed.

Military government spokesman Major General Zaw Min Tun confirmed their deaths on Saturday night on the Burmese-language service of the US government-backed Voice of America television station. He condemned it as an attack on veterans.

The takeover sparked peaceful protests that security forces put down with bloody violence, leading to armed resistance that escalated into what some UN experts call a civil war.

Ohn Thwin was shot in the head by two men around 3 p.m. as he opened the door of his home in Hlaing township in Yangon, said two residents, who spoke on condition of anonymity on Sunday amid fears reprisals from the authorities.

They said his son-in-law, Ye Tay Za, a retired army captain, was also shot as he resisted the attack and tried to help Ohn Thwin.

Residents said the victims were taken to Kan Thar Yar Hospital, believed to be owned by a military-controlled holding company.

In a Facebook post, the Inya Urban Force said “today’s mission is accomplished”. He claimed that Ohn Thwin encouraged the army to commit brutal actions against civilians and advised the army to seize power from the civilian government of Suu Kyi.

Most of the fighting between the army and its opponents takes place in the countryside, where the army has carried out major offensives in an attempt to crush the armed wing of the pro-democracy movement and discourage its supporters. Government forces reportedly used brutal tactics, including deliberately burning down villages, a charge denied by the government.

The military has also attempted to suppress dissent in cities, arresting thousands and using lethal force. According to a detailed list by the Political Prisoners Assistance Association, a rights watchdog, at least 2,316 civilians have been killed by security forces since the military took over last year.

Urban guerrillas opposed to the army regime committed targeted killings, sabotage, arson, and minor bombings. Officials and soldiers were victims, as well as people suspected of being informants or military collaborators.

Last year, Thein Aung, a former navy lieutenant commander who was the finance director of Mytel Telecommunications Co., a company linked to the Myanmar military, was shot dead by three men outside his home in Yangon, but no clear claim of responsibility has been made.

Than Than Swe, then deputy governor of the Central Bank of Myanmar, was shot dead in her home in Yangon in April. A militant group that pledges allegiance to the National Unity Government, the main opposition organization, claimed responsibility for the attack, which Than Than Swe survived. She was promoted in August to the presidency of the bank.

ABC News

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