Rights activist Ko Myint Naing, who was bashed by a crowd of people in Irrawaddy’s Henzada township on April 18, has confirmed that government-backed officials were involved.

Ko Myint Naing, from Henzada, and Ko Maung Maung Lay, from Rangoon’s Kyi Myint Taing township, were in Oak Pon village last Wednesday with several other activists as part of a human rights awareness-raising campaign.

As they were leaving the town, the pair were attacked and brutally bashed by a large group of people wielding sticks and slingshots filled with metal bolts.

In an interview with DVB today, Ko Myint Naing, who suffered severe head injuries as a result of the attack, said that as he and Ko Maung Maung Law left the village, they saw Union Solidarity and Development Association leader Ko Nyunt Oo on a walkie-talkie preparing to intercept them.

“Then he ordered his people to beat us up while he started to hit me with a stick. I got hit on right side of the back of my neck. Then he yelled, ‘Kill them!’ and a group of about 50 people armed with sticks and slingshots chased us,” Ko Myint Naing said.

“We tried to escape on our motorbike but the road was so bumpy that we couldn’t drive fast. A member of the Village Peace and Development Council named Satku and a guy named Ko Thang Aung dragged me off the bike and started hitting me,” he said.

The two men tried to run away from the group but were unable to escape. They were savagely bashed until a car carrying a monk passed, scaring the attackers away, according to Ko Myint Naing.

He and Ko Maung Maung Lay were then taken to a local hospital before being transferred to the neurological wing of Rangoon General the same night.

“I’m still suffering a terrible headache and chest pains due to the sling shot wounds. Other parts of my body where I was beaten are also still painful,” Ko Myint Naing said.

Ko Maung Maung Lay told DVB that about 100 people were involved in the attack.

“They chased us . . . They caught up with us . . . and the mob split up into two groups to beat up each of us,” Ko Maung Maung Lay said.

A variety of Burma lobby groups, human rights organisations and activists have condemned the attacks this week and have called on the Burmese military to punish the people involved.

The 88 Generation Students said in a statement that the attack proved there was no rule of law in Burma.

“We seriously urge the authorities concerned to carry out investigations into who allowed people to gather for the purpose of committing violence rather than solving problems according to the rule of law, and to reveal the culprits, and to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.”