Family members speak about teen protestor's death

Oct 19, 2007 (DVB), Family members of Maung Thet Paing Soe, a 16-year-old protestor who was shot dead during last month's demonstrations, have spoken to DVB about his death.

Maung Thet Paing Soe was shot in front of Tamwe High School (3) on 27 September when government security forces fired on young students protesting outside the school.

Daw Thuzar, Maung Thet Paing Soe's aunt, described what happened when the family heard the news of his death.

"We were told by a friend of Thet Paing Soe, on the day, that he had been shot and had died. We went to the school immediately and looked for his body. But bystanders there told us it had already been taken by troops who came in two military trucks. We couldn’t go after it as the curfew was in force. We saw the body the next day," she said.

"There was a big hole on the back of his head and the brain was gone. We assume it was a gun-shot wound."

Authorities refused to give a copy of Thet Paing Soe’s death certificate, which would have shown his cause of death, to family members.

Daw Thuzar said that she saw five or six other bodies in the mortuary.

Thet Paing Soe’s body was cremated at Htain Pin cemetery on the afternoon of 28 September. Only his family members were allowed to attend the funeral.

"I am really, really sad that he died. He was only 16 and he could have lived for a long time. But I'm very proud of him, too," said Daw Thuzar.

Thet Paing Soe's mother, Daw Pyone, also spoke of her sadness at her son's death.

"He was the youngest child in the family and his father died when he was only four months old. I’m suffering for my loving son, and I've also been losing control of the muscles in my lower body since hearing about my son’s death."

Reporting by Aye Nai

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