Junta troops hunt guerilla fighters in Hlaing Tharyar
One person has been injured in a shooting during raids across the township
Junta soldiers have been hunting guerilla forces in the industrial township of Hlaing Tharyar in recent weeks, arresting dozens and sending some members of the resistance into hiding.
The military has launched several raids on homes across the area targeting members of the People’s Defence Force (PDF) and the National League for Democracy (NLD).
Young people especially are being targeted, an NLD official who asked to remain anonymous told Myanmar Now.
“Some youths have been arrested just for being young, without even having any connection to the PDF,” said the official.
The military council said in a statement late last month that it had arrested 41 alleged PDF members and seized explosives in Yangon. They included 11 residents of Hlaing Tharyar.
The junta also arrested Myat Min Thu, an ousted MP representing Hlaing Tharyar, and Phyo Zaya Thaw, an ousted MP for Zabuthiri in Naypyitaw, accusing them of giving directions to the PDF members who were detained.
Zaw Naing Oo, from Htantapin, which neighbours Hlaung Tharyar, was arrested on August 9 on suspicion of being a PDF member. Since then numerous NLD members in Hlaing Tharyar, as well as people with connections to the party, have fled their homes.
“I think someone from Myat Min Thu’s circle betrayed the group,” said the NLD official.
Also among those arrested was the 19-year-old son of a restaurant owner, who was detained in late July and lived in Hlaing Tharyar’s ward 7.
In early August soldiers in ward 20 shot at two 20-year-old men, hitting and injuring one, before detaining them.
On August 9 there was another shooting on Myo Ma Nyein street when soldiers encountered a suspected PDF member. An elderly woman who heard the gunfire reportedly died of shock.
A witness said the woman was 80 years old. “The old lady who lived four houses from the scene where the soldiers were shooting died of shock after hearing three gunshots,” the witness said.
Thu Daw, the leader of the Civil Guerrilla Force of Hlaing Tharyar, told Myanmar Now on August 21 that the group was planning to increase anti-junta activities in the township. He advised residents of Yangon to learn first aid in preparation for fighting.
His group detonated bombs in the Hlaing Tharyar industrial zone in early August and another at a police station in the east of the township on August 30, he said.
The group planned to attack the administration office in Ward 16, as well as the Hlaing Tharyar fire station, but aborted because they feared they would hurt civilians nearby, he said, adding that he urged civilians to stay away from state buildings.
A journalist based in Hlaing Tharyar said soldiers were stationed in parts of the township. “They are in position holding guns and looking around carefully,” he said.
Hlaing Tharyar is being targeted heavily by the coup regime because it is a stronghold of resistance, said the NLD official.
“People with the spirit of revolution from all over the country are concentrated in Hlaing Tharyar,” he said. “Many of the youths here have connections with each other and most of them are dedicated to the revolution. Us seniors need to support this revolution led by the youth. That’s how we are going to win.”