Myanmar’s Military Junta Kills, Detains Youths in Crackdown on Protest Movement

The generals ruling Myanmar appear to fear the country’s young because 'they have the courage to fight back,' one rights group says.

Myanmar’s Military Junta Kills, Detains Youths in Crackdown on Protest Movement

Myanmar security authorities are targeting the country’s youth in a crackdown on opponents of the Feb. 1 coup that has seen hundreds of young people detained and others killed or forcibly disappeared, rights groups and a U.N. agency say.

Hundreds of young people in Myanmar have been arrested in crackdowns on anti-junta protests and charged with opposing the country’s military rulers under Section 505(a) of Myanmar’s Penal Code, and many have been tortured in custody, sources say.

Many young people in Myanmar have also been killed, said UNICEF, the United Nations agency responsible for providing humanitarian and developmental aid to children worldwide, in a May 5 statement.

Among these, 53 children under the age of 18, including seven girls, have been killed since the army took power, and at least 1,000 children and youths are now being held without access to lawyers or their families, UNICEF said.

“UNICEF is extremely concerned about the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Myanmar,” Marc Rubin, UNICEF’s East Asia and Pacific Regional Adviser for Emergency, said in an email response to questions from RFA. “The delivery of key services for children has already been seriously disrupted.”

“Without urgent action, these children will suffer many negative impacts—physical, psychological, emotional, educational and economic,” Rubin said.

The generals ruling Myanmar appear to especially fear the country’s young because of their strong resistance to the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi, said Nickey Diamond of the rights group Fortify Rights.

“They have the courage to fight back. So [the generals] have to intimidate these young people. That’s why they are targeting and arresting them,” Diamond said, adding, “I think this will make young people even more united, though, and they will find new ways to defeat their enemy.”

Detained and killed

Young men arrested by junta forces are sometimes held for months without word to their families, with their bodies then returned after they are killed, sources say.

On April 6, the bodies of two youths were recovered at a hospital in Monywa city after they and three other villagers were arrested four days before by security forces during a raid on Thabye village in Sagaing region’s Yinmabin township

Nothing more has been heard of the three villagers still held, one family member told RFA, saying that a cousin was among the group still missing.

“We have made enquiries to Monywa, but there has still been no information about them,” he said. “We are worried that something may happen to them if these arrests are still kept in the dark.”

Meanwhile in Mandalay, Kaung Htet Naing—a 22-year-old student at Yadanarbon University—was shot and dragged into a car by soldiers on April 24, a family member said, adding, “It is hard to describe my feelings. [The soldiers] are doing whatever they want.”

“We have no right to take legal action, and I am in no position to do anything about this. I just collect whatever information I can,” he said.

The family searched for Kaung Htet Naing in local police stations and hospitals, but now believes he may have been killed and his body cremated along with others by soldiers in a local cemetery, as evidence found at the cemetery appeared to connect the missing man to the scene, RFA’s source said.

'Taking the lead'

Speaking to RFA, one young man living in Myanmar’s former capital Yangon said he now sees Myanmar’s revolution against military rule developing along two tracks. One will be a mass movement involving open protests, he said.

“The other will be armed resistance, with those who have learned military skills fighting with weapons.”

“Young people are taking the lead in many ways,” he said, adding, “[The junta] thinks they can scare people if they can just stop the young.”

“I think that’s why they are targeting more of us now,” he said.

 Reported by RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Khin Maung Nyane. Written in English by Richard Finney.

Source : Radio Free Asia More   

What's Your Reaction?


Next Article

No Love for Myanmar Junta Leader Min Aung Hlaing in His Hometown

Dawei has had 11 people killed and 100 arrested since the Feb. 1 military takeover.

No Love for Myanmar Junta Leader Min Aung Hlaing in His Hometown

Residents of Dawei, the hometown of Myanmar junta leader Sr. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, are ashamed of their native son for a coup that has led to hundreds of civilian deaths and thrown the country into chaos, sources in the southern port city told RFA.

The city of 150,000 between the Andaman Sea and Thailand known for beaches and tropical fruit has seen 11 people killed by security forces and at least 100 others arrested, residents of Dawei told RFA’s Myanmar Service.

“Min Aung Hlaing will kill everyone regardless of where they are from. His regime will not spare the people of Dawei if they resist his rule. He only cares about maintaining his authoritarian rule,” said a protest leader, who declined to be named for safety reasons.

“We strongly oppose the military regime. We are determined to keep up the resistance to the end,” she said.

According to the Thailand-based rights group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) as of Friday, at least 774 people have been killed by the junta since Min Aung Hlaing seized power from leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s democratically elected government on Feb. 1.

“The leader of this murderous regime emerged from our region, Dawei township. This has hurt our reputation badly,” said a resident of the city, who requested anonymity for security reasons.

“I estimate that people who support Min Aung Hlaing in Dawei would be less than one percent. I think pro-democracy activists and protestors account for the remaining 99 percent,” the man said.

Despite violence and danger, activists in Dawei, capital of Tanintharyi region, say they will never stop protesting until democracy is restored.

“We have the ultimate goal of resisting this military regime. So we, the people of Dawei, will keep protesting in these streets until this regime falls,” said protest leader, who requested anonymity on fear of reprisal.

“We are not just resisting only Min Aung Hlaing. We are opposing the entirety of military rule. Min Aung Hlaing’s regime has done what all previous dictators have done,” he told RFA.

A student union leader told RFA that for the people of Dawei believe that the 64-year-old Min Aung Hlaing , doesn’t stack up to other historic local figures,  such as Ba Htoo, who led the Burma National Army to 20 victories over the occupying Japanese forces at the end of World War II.

He and other famous Dawei natives “are loyal to the country and stood for justice,” the student leader said.

Political analyst Aung Thu Nyen told RFA that unlike other leaders in Southeast Asia, Sr. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing has delivered little to his hometown.

“We don’t see him over his career working for progress in the region,” he said, comparing Min Aung Hlaing with former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who tried to boost economic development in the northern Thai city of Chiangmai, where he was born.

“In contrast, we don’t see Min Aung Hlaing trying to improve Dawei or develop the region,” said Aung Thu Nyen.

The people of Dawei say that the military and its leader have corrupted the honor of the armed forces.

“The Tatmadaw is supposed to protect the lives of the people. They are responsible,” said a resident of Dawei who declined to be named.

“But [Min Aung Hlaing]’s regime is now doing the opposite of the Tatmadaw’s duty.  That’s why the people in Dawei don’t have a reason to forgive him, even though he is a native of Dawei,” he said.

Reported by Khet Mar and Soe San Aung for RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Ye Kaung Myint Maung. Written in English by Eugene Whong.

Source : Radio Free Asia More   

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.