A regime-appointed local administrator in Yangon’s Lanmadaw Township was shot dead by an unknown attacker on Tuesday morning after a blast at the ward office. It is the latest in a series of deadly assaults on local officials who form the basic elements of the junta’s rule at the ward and village levels.
U Myo Lwin, the administrator of Ward No. 3, was shot in the head on 8th Street in the township in downtown Yangon early in the morning. Shortly before his death, a blast was reported at the administrator’s office, local people said. He was killed on his way to the office upon learning of the explosion.
Following the attacks, the area was cordoned off by soldiers and police.
Since the February coup, the regime has been trying to resume local administrative functions by opening the offices. The attempts have been largely opposed by the people, as the regime-appointed administrators are merely police informants who tip off authorities on anyone in the neighborhood who is involved in anti-regime activism. The junta has also tried to reinstate the previously abolished “overnight guest list” registration system to monitor the arrival of strangers in local areas.
In Myanmar’s administrative system, ward- and village-level offices are the most basic units. They compile demographic data as well as information on voters and criminals—among others—in their areas.
Prior to the Tuesday attacks, at least five administrators had already been killed in Yangon, Mandalay and Sagaing regions and Karen State.
Early this month, a ward administrator of Hlaing Tharyar Township on the outskirts of Yangon was stabbed to death.
In Karen State’s Than Taunggyi Township, a village administrator was shot dead last week.
At the same time, dozens of ward offices across the country have come under arson or bomb attacks, signaling that the regime is struggling to restore the rule of law.
The regime has said “rioters”, a military euphemism for protesters, were behind the attacks. However, no one has claimed responsibility for the assaults and The Irrawaddy cannot independently verify the regime’s claim.