Resistance Fighters Seized in Myanmar Junta Safe House Raid

By The Irrawaddy 2 August 2022

Myanmar junta troops raided a resistance safe house and detained around 10 fighters in Aungmyaythazan Township, Mandalay, on Monday.

The Myanmar Return Ranger Force (MRRF) leader and members of other groups were seized, according to revolutionary sources.

Bo Phoenix, a leader of a Mandalay group, said: Their phones were seized and the regime has taken control of their apps. We alerted those who had contact with them. I think the house was raided because the regime noticed that only men were living there.”

The MRRF and two other groups have attacked the military-owned Myawaddy Bank, Kanbawza Bank, which is owned by pro-junta crony U Aung Ko Win, administrative offices, and other junta-linked targets since April in Mandalay.

The identities of the detainees, their organizations and where they were taken are unknown, said resistance groups.

On Monday, junta soldiers detained a young man from a filling station in Mandalay. They later sent him back to the filling station, saying that they arrested the wrong person and detained one of his colleagues. 

In early July, resistance fighters from DRM Rangers Mandalay were arrested during a raid on a safe house. The regime has stepped up security checks and arrests of young people since early July, according to residents and resistance groups. More than 80 resistance fighters and civilians have been detained so far.

The regime is targeting protest leaders and urban resistance fighters. But it has also detained those who have nothing to do with the revolution who are prosecuted with trumped-up charges,” said Bo Phoenix.

Junta soldiers, police and armed men in civilian clothes are carrying out security checks on roads, using private cars and vehicles from charities and monasteries. 

The regime has also been checking houses for overnight guests as it hunts for protest leaders and resistance fighters. Troops surround areas before knocking on doors to prevent suspects escaping, said resistance fighters.

Arrests have significantly increased. Some resistance fighters have been arrested without their comradesknowledge. Searching houses for overnight guests has also increased,” said a Mandalay Peoples Rescue member. 

A man was detained in Maha Aungmyay Township on July 27 and raids followed that day and his comrades were detained. The following day, five people, including three members of a family, were detained. The same day, witnesses saw a young man pointing out houses at gunpoint.

Bo Ye Kaung from Shwebo Peoples Defense Force said: Soldiers shoot to kill us in raids although they could capture us alive. Some die in interrogation. Some are held in solitary confinement.”

On July 29, U Aung Naing Soe, the National League for Democracy chairman for Nyaungbintha village in Patheingyi Township, was detained by five police officers and his whereabouts are unknown.

Some resistance groups, including DRM Rangers, have suspended operations, while others have left Mandalay.

The regime has been combing Mandalay for us. We barely receive intelligence from the public so it is difficult to continue our operations in Mandalay and we have to move our base,” said Bo Naung Lay from the Black Death group.

He said the group told people to avoid going near junta soldiers and regime-linked buildings and not to alert the regime if they find something suspicious. He said they have aborted missions because civilians show up at the wrong time. 

Junta boss Min Aung Hlaing said in his speech on Monday that 4,026 attacks targeting junta-linked targets had taken place in Sagaing since the coup, 2,442 in Yangon, 2,194 in Mandalay and 1,359 in Magwe.

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, 11,820 people had been detained by July 29 since last years coup and 1,364 of them have been given prison sentences. An estimated 119 have been given death sentences, 42 of whom in absentia.