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Army sergeant dies under interrogation

May 13, 2009 (DVB), A Burmese army sergeant suspected of involvement in the theft of firearms and ammunition from a military armoury last week has reportedly died whilst undergoing interrogation.

On 4 May an ammunitions depot belonging to the army's Light Infantry Battalion 256 in Burma's Magwe division was raided.

Two days later, masked men robbed a jewellery shop in Yamaethin town, Mandalay division, leaving one dead and two injured.

The firearms used in the robbery are believed to have been those stolen from the armoury.

Sergeant Myint Soe, aged 35, a member of Battalion 256 who was interrogated under suspicion of his involvement in the armoury theft, died en route to the Yamaethin hospital on Sunday.

"People who saw the interrogation said he was kept under burning hot sunlight all day without giving him any water," said an anonymous source close to the military.

"At the end of the day, they poured a bucket of cold water over his head and then he fainted."

A hospital staff member, also speaking under condition of anonymity, told DVB that the sergeant was covered in bruises and his fingernails and toenails had been removed.

A Yesagyo resident who lived near the armoury had last week voiced suspicion that the army were involved in the break-in.

"It is impossible to do it without the participation of at least family members of the army," he said.

"Outsiders dare not come to this kind of territory. They are afraid, as you could be shot if you are too close to the army [camp].

"It is possible that they want to smuggle weapons for sale."

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw


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