In rare backtrack, junta says it will investigate senior monk’s shooting death

The military first blamed Sayadaw Bhaddanta Munindabhivamsa’s death on anti-junta rebels.
By RFA Burmese
In rare backtrack, junta says it will investigate senior monk’s shooting death The body of Sayadaw Baddanta Munindabhivamsa, the patron of Win Neinmitayon Monastery, lies in his native monastery, June 21, 2024 in Bago, Myanmar.
Ashin Panna Sara/Kya Khat Wine

Myanmar’s military junta announced Friday that it would investigate the shooting death of a senior Buddhist monk, just one day after junta-controlled media denied responsibility.

Sayadaw Bhaddanta Munindabhivamsa, the abbot of Win Neinmitayon Monastery in the Bago region, was shot dead Wednesday in his car as it left an airport in the central Mandalay region. 

Television broadcaster MRTV announced initially that the abbot’s car was caught in a firefight between junta troops and guerillas from the rebel People’s Defense Forces, a grassroots militia formed by citizens opposed to military rule. 

But another monk who was in the car with him said the attack on the car was carried out by junta soldiers.

On Friday, the junta’s chief minister for the Bago region visited the monks of the Win Neinmitayon Monastery and admitted that the military had published incorrect information. 

The junta later announced that it would re-examine the incident and respond accordingly.

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Dhammaduta Buddhist University and the Patriotic Myanmar Monks Union in Yangon released a statement Thursday expressing their condolences over the death of Sayadaw Bhaddanta Munindabhivamsa.

The Samgha Samagga, a monk’s association in Mandalay, also released a statement condemning the shooting, labeling the incident as terrorism.

At the time of his death, Sayadaw Bhaddanta Munindabhivamsa was 77 years old and had been a monk for 57 years. He also held many advanced Buddhist literature degrees.

Edited by Eugene Whong.


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