Myanmar Junta Takes Mother of Anti-Regime Protester Hostage

By The Irrawaddy 2 November 2021

Myanmar junta forces burned down the house of a wanted anti-coup protest leader on Tuesday in Tanintharyi Region, and abducted the mother of another protester as a hostage, according to the Democracy Movement Strike Committee Dawei.

Arrest warrants for the two activists were issued in mid-March for their part in leading peaceful anti-regime demonstrations in Dawei, the spokesperson of the committee told The Irrawaddy on Tuesday.

On Monday night, junta troops raided the houses of protest leader Ko Wai Yan Soe, a member of the Democracy Movement Strike Committee Dawei, and his aunt in Sit Pyae Village in Launglon Township, Tanintharyi Region, according to the committee.

During the raids, regime soldiers destroyed belongings and confiscated two motorbikes, the committee said in its statement.

Military regime forces also threatened to return to burn down Ko Wai Yan Soe’s house after failing to find him during their raid, according to a local news agency, The Tanintharyi Times.

At about 1am early Tuesday morning, around 20 junta troops returned and set fire to the house, according to the strike committee and The Tanintharyi Times.

Also on Monday evening, regime forces raided the house and destroyed the belongings of Ko Min Lwin Oo, another member of the Democracy Movement Strike Committee Dawei, in Pyine Htein Village in Launglon Township.

After failing to find Ko Min Lwin Oo, junta troops took his mother, Daw Cho Than, 56, as a hostage, according to the committee.

“Our committee is leading peaceful protests against the military regime without any violence,” said the committee’s spokesperson.

“Torching houses and taking hostages are cowardly and vulgar acts by the junta forces,” he added.

Between February 1 and September 8, the regime detained as hostages around 177 people, including children as young as two-years-old and senior citizens, who are relatives of wanted anti-regime activists.

On Monday alone, at least 33 people from Bago and Mandalay regions and several townships in Yangon were arrested by military regime forces, according to a statement issued by the Defense Ministry of the parallel National Unity Government.

Currently, the junta is also confiscating the houses of people accused of having ties to People’s Defense Forces or helping them with supplies.

As of Monday, 9,592 people including elected government leaders have been arrested by the junta since their coup, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) which records deaths and arrests.

Over 7,000 people are being detained by the regime, while 1,229 have been killed by junta forces, AAPP said.

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