Myanmar Ex-President Makes Donation for Alleged Junta Informants

By The Irrawaddy 7 December 2021

Former president and general U Thein Sein gave a five million kyats (US$2,800) donation for members of the Myanmar military’s proxy Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) who have been killed or wounded on suspicion of acting as junta informants.

In a statement released September that echoes the language of the military regime, the USDP said that 253 of its members have been killed in “terrorist attacks”, while accusing the parallel civilian National Unity Government (NUG) and its parliamentary committee the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CPRH) of being behind those attacks and of inciting riots against the “legitimate government”. The CRPH was established by National League for Democracy (NLD) Party elected MPs, who set up the NUG along with ethnic allies to rival the regime.

Since the junta’s February 1 coup, regime forces have killed at least 1,303 civilians including students, children, politicians and activists, and arrested over 10,000 people, according to rights group the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. Over 100 people, including seven NLD members, have been tortured to death while in detention.

In June, USDP spokesperson Nanda Hla Myint told The Irrawaddy that the party’s members have been targeted by civilian resistance fighters on suspicion of acting as military informants.

Civilian resistance fighters, who have taken up arms to fight against military rule, have announced that they will not launch attacks that could harm innocent civilians, but warned those working as regime informants and cooperating with junta forces in raids and arrests.

Regime-appointed ward and village administrators, USDP members and others infamous as regime informants or for threatening civilians have also been targeted by civilian resistance groups.

On Monday, USDP member U Kyaw Thin was shot and hospitalized with critical injuries. He had posted on his Facebook that he would definitely arrest Ko Tayzar San, one of the most prominent faces of the pro-democracy movement, in Mandalay, and so receive the regime reward of 10 million kyats (US$5,600) offered for his arrest.

The USDP stated on Sunday that U Thein Sein gave his donation of five million kyats on Friday to the party’s fund for members killed or wounded while acting as junta informants.

Former general U Thein Sein became president in 2011 after contesting the 2010 election for the USDP. He was chairman of the party until 2015.

Ex-president U Thein Sein seen at an event at the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) headquarters in Naypyitaw on Jan. 5. / USDP / Facebook

Current USDP chairman U Than Htay, a former brigadier general, also provided five million kyats to the fund. Retired Lieutenant General Myint Hlaing, who was agriculture minister in U Thein Sein’s government, gave a donation of 10 million kyats.

Other donors to the USDP include the party’s leaders and senior members: U Htay Oo, U Khin Yi, U Myat Hein, U Hla Thein , U Tin Aung Chit, and U Pike Htwe.

Coup leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing’s son Ko Aung Pyae Sone and his wife Ma Myo Yadanar Htike also donated five million kyats to the USDP fund for party members killed or wounded since the coup, according to the USDP.

The USDP was formed by ex-generals and its leadership is still dominated by former military officers. The party lost heavily to the NLD in both the 2015 and 2020 general elections, claiming that the most recent poll was marred by electoral fraud.

Subsequently, the USDP announced that the military’s coup was carried out in accordance with the 2008 constitution, and said that the party will collaborate with the military regime in carrying out its roadmap for the future.

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