The whereabouts remain unknown of a four-year-old boy, who was abducted on Tuesday by Myanmar’s regime forces in place of his father in Ahlone Township, Yangon.
Around 20 junta personnel in civilian clothes raided his preschool and forced the staff to hand him over after failing to find his father, who is accused of supporting the people’s defense forces. The boy’s mother was seized before him.
The National Unity Government (NUG) said in a statement: “Both the lives of mother and child are in danger.” She has reportedly been in a military interrogation center and her son’s location is unknown.
Yangon residents raised concerns on social media over the safety of the child hostage.
“We are deeply concerned that the young boy and his mother will be subjected to the junta’s inhumane torture which may endanger their lives,” the Yangon’s People Strike said in a statement.
The NUG’s human rights minister U Aung Myo Min told The Irrawaddy that the Child Law states an under-10 cannot commit an offense.
“He did nothing and he is just a child. Arresting the boy after failing to find his parent is totally unacceptable,” the minister added.
On February 21 regime forces seized about 20 young children in Chauk Township, Magwe Region, and a four-year-old was killed in Pauk Township on March 6 in the same region.
The NUG condemned the junta’s killing of children and the abduction of children as proxies to punish or torment their families.
“We will do everything within our power to investigate every case, reunite families that have been torn apart and hold all those responsible to account,” it added. It urged the international community to act against the “terrorist military regime” to ensure the safety of children.
The NUG’s Ministry of Women, Youths and Children Affairs reported that there had been 132 under-18s killed and 216 detained by the junta since the February 2021 coup. Of those 216, two have been given the death penalty, including one child younger than 15.