At least 11 Mandalay National League for Democracy (NLD) members and supporters have allegedly been killed within two days by the pro-regime terror group, Thwe Thout. Observers believe junta personnel carried out the killings.
The group on April 21 launched “Operation Red” against the party’s members and supporters, their families and supporters of anti-regime resistance groups.
More than 20 NLD members and supporters were killed by early October, according to the NLD and news reports.
On Monday night, NLD supporters U Kyaw San, 55, U Hla Soe, 56, and U Thein Lwin, 47, were detained by junta forces from their houses in Natogyi town in Mandalay. Supporters Ko Kyaw Min, 44, and Ko Zin Min Tun, 36, were seized from their houses in Htan Gwa village, 8km east of the town, according to residents and Natogyi People’s Defense Force (PDF).
On Tuesday morning the four bodies were found at the Htan Gwa junction east of the town and the body of U Kyaw San was found in Kyauklonegyi west of the town.
All victims had been stabbed in the abdomen and throat, the township’s PDF and NLD members told The Irrawaddy. Thwe Thout lanyards were left with the bodies.
“The regime killed the victims as our township has no Thwe Thout members,” said a Natogyi PDF member.
Thwe Thout is seen as a sham group used by the junta to avoid international criticism, according to the PDF member.
He said the killings were designed to deter innocent people from supporting the resistance.
“They voted NLD but they were living peacefully. It is cold-blooded murder,” an NLD member in the township told The Irrawaddy.
On Sunday night, U Tun Zaw, the NLD’s central executive committee member of neighboring Taungtha Township, was killed after being detained by junta forces and regime-appointed township administrators.
The Bagan Nyaung Oo Thwe Thout group claimed responsibility for the killing on pro-regime Telegram channels.
U Tun Zaw was a campaign manager for U Win Chit Aung, who was elected in the 2020 general election.
The General Strike Committee in Taungtha claimed that the township’s general administration department must take responsibility for the killing as it was involved in his arrest.
On Sunday night, NLD members U Win Aung Moe, 55, U Nyin Chan Min, 45, and Ma Thaw Mi Mi Win, 32, were killed by junta forces and pro-regime Pyu Saw Htee militia members after they were taken from their Sintgu village homes in Nyaung-U Township in Mandalay Region.
Residents found their bodies beside a highway opposite the Sintgu Hospital the next morning.
The victims had been stabbed in the abdomen and throats, family members told the media.
Ma Thaw Mi Mi Win had reportedly been raped, reported residents and her relatives.
Bagan Nyaung Oo Thwe Thout claimed responsibility for the killing.
The group claimed to have killed another NLD member, U Kyaw Win, 68, from the Sal Ywar village in Nyaung Oo on Sunday night.
The victim was reportedly killed outside the village after being arrested by junta troops along with her daughter.
NLD member Daw Thein Htay, 50, was reportedly killed by the Thwe Thout group in Kyaukse Township, Mandalay Region.
The NLD said in May that 917 party members had been arrested since the February 1 coup last year.
Of those detained 701 NLD members, including party leaders and 98 elected lawmakers, are still in custody.
Around 20 NLD members, including a lawmaker, have died in regime custody, according to the party.
By Tuesday, an estimated 2,336 people had been killed by junta forces and 15,757 are in junta detention, said the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners that is documenting deaths and arrests.