Myanmar Regime Says Seven Resistance Members Arrested for Yangon Assassinations

By The Irrawaddy 13 February 2023

The Myanmar military regime reported on Sunday that it had arrested seven men it said were members of the People’s Defense Force (PDF) in Yangon’s Hlaing Township who were involved in the assassinations of 15 junta-linked individuals including veterans and departmental personnel.

It said the alleged gunman in the Jan. 30 shooting death of a former military officer who was working as a deputy general manager of a soap manufacturing factory in Yangon was arrested on Feb. 7, and six accomplices were arrested over the next two days. Four of them underwent a month of training in making improvised explosive devices in the area controlled by the Karen National Liberation Army’s Brigade 2, according to the junta report.

The regime claimed the suspects were involved in killing 15 people in 10 incidents in Yangon’s Kamayut, Mayangone, Hlaing and Insein townships from July last year to Feb. 3. Most of the victims were former military personnel and junta-appointed leaders of 100-household ward administrative bodies.

The mastermind behind the assassinations is former National League for Democracy lawmaker U Wai Phyo Han, who remains at large, according to the report.

Elected to the Yangon regional parliament in the 2015 general election, U Wai Phyo Han, 38, is regarded by the regime as the leader of the PDF in Yangon Region. The late lawmaker and activist U Phyo Zeya Thaw was believed to have played a key role in supplying weapons and ammunition for the resistance movement in Yangon before his arrest in 2021. He was executed by the regime in July last year.

Hlaing PDF was formed by U Wai Phyo Han and U Than Win Htun (also known as Kyo Kyar) in June 2021 with 12 members, according to the regime. The regime said it would take harsh action under the law against those arrested.