Myanmar’s junta has escalated its campaign against anti-coup opponents nationwide by stepping up its arrests, torture and killings, while ignoring calls from the international community to end all violence and release political prisoners.
On Monday alone, around 30 young people including teenagers were arrested in Yangon as junta forces raided several residential areas around the city.
15 youths including a 16-year-old boy were arrested during separate raids in Botahtaung, East Dagon, South Dagon, Thingangyun and Ahlone townships on Monday.
The military regime accused all of them of being involved in a deadly attack on a railway official at Yangon Railway Station, who was shot dead by an unidentified man on October 13 while he was on a ferry.
Two railway staff at Yangon Railway Station who had left to join the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM), as well as elected lawmakers of the ousted National League for Democracy government – Daw Lei Lei Win and U Phyo Zeya Thaw – and three others are also accused of involvement in the incident and have been targeted with arrest warrants.
Nine youths, including three teenagers, were also arrested at a house in Yangon’s Thingangyun Township. Junta-controlled TV reported the arrests on Tuesday night.
In the report, they claimed that a 17-year-old boy, the youngest of the group to be detained, had made a confession, leading to the arrest of four more people and the seizure of weapons on Monday.
All those detained are accused of being involved in several bombing incidents and attempted attacks against junta forces in Yangon.
Regime media said in the report that the group included two members of the Burmese Revolution Force and two members of the Yangon Anti-Dictatorship Force, two civilian resistance groups. Two of those arrested are accused of raising funds online for armed resistance against the junta.
In southern Myanmar’s Tanintharyi Region, over a dozen residents of Dawei and Launglon townships were reportedly arrested this week.
The most recent arrest included three relatives of Ko Lu Lu Zaw, an activist who is wanted by the military regime for his involvement in peaceful anti-regime demonstrations in Launglon Township. Early on Wednesday morning, junta forces arrested the activist’s wife, two-year-old child and uncle as they couldn’t find Ko Lu Lu Zaw at his home.
Earlier on Monday, the junta also raided the houses of two wanted anti-coup protest leaders in Launglon Township. The junta forces burned down the house of one activist after failing to find him and arrested the mother of another protest leader as a hostage.
The death toll of civilians murdered by the regime also continues to increase. Recent deaths include a striking teacher and Ko Phyo Wai Tun, the head of a boarding school who was living in Gway Pin Kwet Thit Village in Chauk Township, Magwe Region.
Ko Phyo Wai Tun died during his interrogation, hours after his arrest, from injuries consistent with torture, the rights group the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) said in their most recent report.
He was arrested together with his two younger brothers on the night of October 31 by Infantry Battalion 13 based in Chauk Township, and accused of supporting the local People’s Defense Force. His family were told to collect his body the following day.
U Win Lwin, a teacher at the Basic Education High School in Sintgine, Magwe Region, who was involved in the CDM, also died from injuries consistent with torture, AAPP stated in their report.
At around 3am on November 1 at around 3am, junta soldiers arrested five villagers including U Win Lwin for questioning. Three out of the five were released that evening, but U Win Lwin and U Yan Aung Win, a tutor, were kept in detention. On November 2 at 7am, U Win Lwin’s family were told to collect his body.
At least 1,179 people have been killed by junta forces since their February 1 coup and over 9,500 people were arrested according to AAPP.