News Update


Lily Naing Kyaw: Pro-military celebrities are alarmed by the murder of a Myanmar singer

Lily Naing Kyaw, a musician from Myanmar, passed away in a Yangon hospital a week after being shot in the head, allegedly by assailants of the military she supported.

Not only have celebrities who work with the pro-military media been startled by her death, but also military supporters.

The 58-year-old was close to the senior junta figures who overthrew the government in 2021 and dragged the nation into war; she was also charged with serving as their informant.

Her murder is allegedly the work of two individuals who have been detained.

They are allegedly members of an anti-military urban guerrilla group. Two of the men’s relatives were allegedly murdered in retaliation just hours after their detention.

The murder of Ms. Kyaw is the most recent in a string of high-profile victims who were supporters of the regime.

Tint Lwin, a well-known nationalist and supporter of the military, was fatally shot in the head while at a tea shop in Yangon, the nation’s capital, four days prior to her attack. After surviving a shooting last summer, he had been hiding.

Ms. Kyaw was attacked on May 30 early in the evening when she was parked in front of her home in Yankin Township, Yangon.

After a picture of her laying face down in her car was published on social media, initial reports claimed she had been killed. She was critically ill when she was rushed to the hospital and remained there till she passed away early on June 6th. Her death was verified by her family to the BBC.

It was referred to as the “inhumane shooting of an innocent woman” in a government statement. Statements condemning the assassination were released by seventeen pro-junta organizations. An extreme nationalist Buddhist group called Ma Ba Tha sought increased protection.

The military released a CCTV photograph of a man using a phone while walking past autos.
Military Information Committee, Image Source
CCTV footage of the individual allegedly responsible for the shooting, as shown in the image’s caption
Two individuals were detained and charged with the shooting, allegedly belonging to the Special Task Force, an armed opposition organization located in Yangon. Kaung Zar Ni Hein, one of the males, was recognized from CCTV footage. The second has been given the name Kyaw Thura. The military asserts that the accused have confessed while they are being held in detention pending trial.

The military has also claimed that the shooting was carried out by well-known student leader D Nyein Lynn.

The mother and cousin of Kaung Zar Ni Hein were fatally shot at their house in Yangon on the same night that the guys were taken into custody. His younger sister and brother were able to flee; according to a pro-military station, security forces are “protecting them from gunmen”.

The report’s veracity and the identity of the attackers remain unknown. Nobody has made a claim for it.

The likelihood of the violence escalating is feared. On their Telegram channels, military supporters have uploaded images of exiled National Unity Government officials and their families, urging followers to “take revenge” on them for killing Ms. Kyaw. The brother of Aung Kyaw Moe, a human rights advisor to the unity government, was assassinated in Yangon on Wednesday night.

Ms. Kyaw, who was raised in a military household, socialized with military leaders and was frequently seen at official gatherings. One of her songs had evolved into the unofficial anthem for Myanmar’s New Year’s water festival.

General Zaw Min Tun, the army’s spokesman, and Lily Naing Kyaw celebrated Armed Forces Day on March 27, 2023.
picture caption
General Zaw Min Tun, the army’s spokesman, and Lily Naing Kyaw celebrated Armed Forces Day on March 27, 2023.
According to reports, Ms. Kyaw was singled out because she was a military informant. She is alleged to have recorded demonstrators in her neighborhood banging pots and pans as a kind of demonstration and given the tape to the army, which resulted in their detention. She had also covered the involvement of youth in revolutionary movements.

Ms. Kyaw was chosen to speak to CNN and the Southeast Asia Globe during their visit to Myanmar a few months after the February 2021 coup that overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected National League for Democracy (NLD). She informed reporters that she had been demonized as a traitor and that posters had emerged on lampposts near her house accusing her of being a spy. She added that her house had suffered vandalism.

“I acknowledge the coup and support the military. The majority of the residents in my neighborhood, though, say they want to kill me and support the NLD, the singer told reporters. These individuals “want to destroy the country.”

aerial destruction of Myanmar’s horrific civil conflict
The soldiers from Myanmar are not fighting
According to close sources of the victims, she was avoided by several popular personalities because she would inform the pro-military Telegram channel who celebrities were participating in anti-coup protests so they might be detained.

Aung Naing San, a well-known singer and advocate of democracy, had been involved in a protracted social media argument with Ms. Kyaw. Following his love of the image of her lying in her car, he was detained last week. On June 1, he said on Facebook, “Death is sad, but there is personal hurt and hatred, so I clicked satisfied.” In 2009, the once-close friends split up, and he had criticized Ms. Kyaw for endorsing the coup.

Following their social media responses, comments, or sharing of posts regarding Ms. Kyaw’s shooting, at least six additional people have also been detained. Most of them faced charges under Section 505(a), a provision that makes spreading false information and inciting hatred against the military illegal.

Other pro-government celebrities in Myanmar are now afraid of speaking out about their support for the military because they believe they have no safety and that gunmen could show up at their door at any time. According to close insiders, they are advising one another to use social media responsibly and to maintain a low profile.

Takhon Paing
Paing Takhon is a model and actor who has a large following.
Paing Takhon, a model and actress who participated in the anti-coup rallies, is one performer caught in Myanmar’s political minefield and was given a three-year term in 2021. He was granted an early release in exchange for working with the military, but after entertaining them at the water festival in April, he is now the target of a boycott.

Social media users made irate remarks beneath the Rent Boy trailer for his upcoming movie. “Shame on you” and “Paing Takhon is not Myanmar people’s hero any more and he is collaborating with the brutal military junta now” were among the comments left by those who accused him of betraying the people of Myanmar. The actor told his 2.8 million followers that Myanmar was stagnating because of intergroup conflict in his response, but his message was quickly removed.

Rapper Yone Lay, often known as Little Bunny, was attacked with a knife at a Yangon restaurant last April, but he managed to escape without getting hurt. He claimed on his social media pages that supporting the military was not the same as opposing non-military organizations. “I detest extremes. I sincerely want everyone to live in harmony and peace,” he wrote in his message. He has been charged with being a military informant, just like Ms. Kyaw.

In the meantime, celebrities who criticize the government have come under fire.

Byu Har, a rapper, was detained for “disrupting the peace” and “spreading propaganda” last month after he made fun of the junta’s ongoing power outages. The song Kabar Ma Kyay Buu—which translates to “We won’t be satisfied until the end of the world”—was written by his father, the well-known composer Naing Myanmar. It served as the anthem of Myanmar’s 1988 pro-democracy campaign and is currently sung at demonstrations against the 2021 coup.


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