War Against the Junta

Prison-Break Resistance Fighter Killed in PDF Raid on Myanmar Police Outpost

By The Irrawaddy 18 October 2022

A young Myanmar resistance fighter who recently escaped from a junta prison was killed during a People’s Defense Force (PDF) raid on a junta police outpost in Wetlet Township, Sagaing Region on Monday.

Ko Nay Htet, 21, and a comrade from 96 Soldiers-PDF were arrested by regime forces in Pakkoku Township, Magwe Region in July while traveling to an assigned area in Wetlet from Karen State, group representative Ko Zayar Lwin told The Irrawaddy on Tuesday. 96 Soldiers-PDF has been trained by the Karen National Union and assigned to conduct operations against the regime in Sagaing.

The two PDF fighters and three other political prisoners escaped from Pakokku Prison on Sept. 10 after scaling an 18-foot (5.5-meter) prison wall at night. The PDF fighters later rejoined their original squadron with 96 soldiers-PDF in Wetlet.

Early on Monday, Ko Nay Htet was killed during a firefight with regime forces when their PDF and three other local resistance groups jointly attempted to occupy the junta outpost in Shwe Pan Kone Village in the township.

Members of 96 Soldiers-PDF mourn at the funeral of their comrade Ko Nay Htet, who was killed in a clash with junta forces in Wetlet Township on Monday. / 96 Soldiers-PDF

During the hourlong clash, two regime forces were killed and six others injured. Another regime soldier suffered serious injuries and reportedly died later that night, Ko Zayar Lwin said. Another resistance fighter was also injured in the clash.

All of the PDF groups were forced to retreat and abandon their attempt to occupy the outpost when junta forces called in an Mi-35 helicopter gunship to attack the resistance forces.

Ko Nay Htet died after being shot in the back while retreating from the clash, said Ko Zayar Lwin.

Resistance fighter Ko Nay Htet / 96 Soldiers-PDF

“It is not easy to break out of prison. But Ko Nay Htet managed to escape amid difficulties and rejoined the armed revolution. His determined spirit against the military dictatorship was very powerful,” he said.

During the prison break, Ko Nay Htet helped four other inmates escape by allowing them to stand on his shoulders in order to climb over the prison wall. He also managed to escape despite falling from the high wall.

“He died fighting the military dictatorship rather than be tortured to death in prison for the prison break. So, his death was a noble one,” said the representative of 96 Soldiers-PDF.

Wanted by the military regime for their anti-regime activism, his two siblings and parents fled their Yangon home and have been on the run for over a year.

Ko Nay Htet during a graduation ceremony in Yangon before the coup. / CJ

As of Monday, 2,361 people had been killed by the military junta while a total of 15,873 people including government leaders have been arrested or detained since the coup last year, said the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a rights group monitoring deaths and arrests.