Beyond the Headlines: Myanmar’s urban guerrilla forces bomb interrogation sites, assassinate militia leader

Urban violence and assassinations

A Mandalay-based leader of the Pyu Saw Htee militia—trained and armed by the Myanmar military—was shot dead at his Chanmyathazi Township home at 9am on October 10. Forty-year-old Aung San, who ran a shop selling religious offerings at the famed Mahamuni Pagoda, was shot four times by members of two Mandalay urban guerrilla (UG) forces: Generation Z Power and Mandalay UG Wolf Army. The groups claimed responsibility for the assassination later that day. 

Two Chanmyathazi residents told Myanmar Now that the deceased was notorious for threatening locals with weapons, and had been known to have assisted junta troops in crackdowns on anti-coup activities. He was accused of shooting at 25-year-old protester Thu Thu Zin in July of last year near Mahamuni Pagoda alongside plainclothes officers. She was killed by a gunshot wound to the head. The guerrilla groups described the recent assassination of Aung San as having been carried out to avenge the death of Thu Thu Zin. Myanmar Now is unable to independently verify the accusation that the late Aung San was involved in her murder. 


An explosion went off at the residence of the air force’s Lt-Col Kyaw Kyaw Tun in North Okkalapa Township, Yangon, at 8pm on October 11, according to local sources, who said no one was injured in the attack.

The blast destroyed the fence of the officer’s house, an area resident told Myanmar Now, adding that several junta soldiers arrived at the location within 30 minutes of the explosion. A list of 15 air force pilots’ home addresses were released by a UG force called Operation Spitfire on October 8. The group named Kyaw Kyaw Tun as one of the officers responsible for the military’s ongoing airstrikes against resistance forces and civilians, under the command of junta chief Min Aung Hlaing. No group has claimed responsibility for the bombing. The junta has not issued any comment on the incident.


Two military interrogation sites in Yangon were targeted in bomb attacks on October 12, according to Myanmar Now sources. The centres in question were located in Hlaing and Mayangone townships. 

The site in Hlaing was hit by a bomb dropped from a drone at around 6pm, with soldiers at the location reportedly responding with indiscriminate gunfire following the explosion. No group claimed responsibility for this attack. Around two hours later, a Mayangone Township building housing staff members from the Office of Military Security Affairs and their families was targeted in a bombing. The office, overseen by Lt-Gen Ye Win Oo, is largely responsible for the gathering of intelligence and is typically where detainees are questioned in order to extract information. A Yangon-based UG force named Human Rights Defenders claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement released that night. 

Another housing compound for staff from the military’s Directorate of Signals in the same township was targeted in a similar attack. UG group War of Hunter Revolution Force took responsibility for the bombing. 

At the time of reporting, Myanmar Now was unable to verify information regarding the damage caused by the explosions.


A court in Yangon’s Kyimyindaing Township was targeted in a bomb attack on October 15. Two UG groups, the Brave Eagles and Dark Shadow, said that their members carried out the attack with explosives on the township court at 8:30am. The groups said that they would continue attacking junta targets supporting the military’s administrative mechanism, and urged the public to stay away from such infrastructure. 


Ethnic armed organisations

A junta border guard base called Leik Ya in Rakhine State’s Maungdaw Township was overrun by the Arakan Army in just one hour on October 10, according to an AA statement.

AA forces started attacking the junta base, at which junta soldiers and border guard police were present, at around 4am that day, seizing control of the site by around 5am.

Three troops were reportedly taken prisoner, and several killed, according to the AA, which also claimed to have seized weapons, ammunition and military supplies. One AA member was also killed in the clash. 

The ethnic armed organisation (EAO) noted that the seizure of the base was the fastest such operation that they had carried successfully and with minimal casualties. 

A photo released by the AA shows captured junta troops and ammunition seized after the armed organisation overran a border guard base in Maungdaw Township on October 10 (AA Info Desk) 

The AA described the base as a site from which the military had been indiscriminately firing heavy artillery into the surrounding area, day and night. The statement also claimed that the junta’s Kyauktaw command and a base near the village of Yoke Thar had also fired more than 30 heavy artillery shells into the area between 8pm and 10pm on October 9, despite there being no battles nearby.

The AA has already occupied the junta’s border guard base near Milestone 40 in Maungdaw Township, a base that had belonged to Light Infantry Battalion 352 near the May Yu hills on the Kyein Chaung-Guppi road, and an outpost near Mee Taik village.


The Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA) released a statement on October 10 announcing that its leadership would like to meet with other EAOs active in Shan State for talks amid escalating armed conflict in the region.

In addition to the RCSS, members of the Northern Alliance are also among the EAOs operating in Shan State, including the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA), Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), and the United Wa State Army (UWSA). In southern Shan State, the Pa-O National Liberation Army and the Pa-O National Organisation are also active, among others.

Tension between the RCSS and the SSPP, TNLA and UWSA has been high, and many locals have been displaced by recent clashes, RCSS spokesperson Maj Kham Hseng said, an issue that the RCSS raised to potentially discuss in forthcoming meetings. 

In its invitation letter, the RCSS said that the aim of the talks was to build better relationships and trust between the EAOs, minimise misunderstandings, and to solve political problems through political means. 

The organisation set the time period for talks as four months, from October 10 until February 10 of next year, with the possibility for extension. 

People from Shan State’s Kyaukme Township displaced by clashes between the RCSS and TNLA in 2016 (EPA)

PNLO patron Col Khun Okkar commented that he welcomed the RCSS invitation. 

“The leaders are all aware that the hostility must stop at some point. They must have realised that it was high time we stopped being hostile towards each other and welcomed the change,” he told Myanmar Now.

Myanmar Now was unable to obtain comment from other EAOs regarding the RCSS’s invitation. 

The RCSS came out as against the February 2021 coup, but is also among the EAOs that have since attended meetings with junta chief Min Aung Hlaing in Naypyitaw. 


Junta affairs

Naypyitaw’s mayor and his deputy—ousted in last year’s coup—were both sentenced to three more years in prison for corruption by a closed court within the Naypyitaw detention centre on October 11, according to sources familiar with the proceedings. Both men are now facing jail terms totalling more than two decades.

Ye Min Oo 

The junta had accused mayor Myo Aung, who served in the administration of detained State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, of abusing his position and costing the state millions of dollars through deals involving land sales and municipal projects in the capital. Five cases were filed against the 71-year-old for alleged graft and he was sentenced last week to three years in prison for each of the charges, to be served concurrently. Forty-seven-year-old Vice Mayor Ye Min Oo, was also charged in two of the five cases and was sentenced to three years for each conviction, also to be served concurrently. The pair were arrested in the wake of the coup, along with Suu Kyi and many members of her cabinet. 

Myo Aung had been previously sentenced to 19 years in prison for incitement and corruption, bringing his total prison time to 22 years. Ye Min Oo also served as Yangon Region’s minister for planning and finance for more than half a year before the coup. He had previously been sentenced to 20 years in prison for corruption, bringing his total term to 23 years after the latest verdict.


A junta court in Naypyitaw sentenced Aung Naing Oo, head of Aung San Suu Kyi’s security team, to 10 years’ imprisonment on October 13. According to sources familiar with the proceedings, he was convicted under the Official Secrets Act. In the wake of the military coup, Aung Naing Oo was found to have been leaking military information to activist Jimmy, a well-known 88 Generation leader executed in July under the junta after being convicted of terrorism. 

Aung Naing Oo

Aung Naing Oo was assigned to watch duty at Suu Kyi’s Yangon residence during her house arrest in the 1990s. Under her government, he became deputy director of the security team at the President’s Office. He was arrested in October 2021 and is being held in the Naypyitaw detention centre.

Members of Suu Kyi’s security team were under close surveillance following the coup, with others detained as well. Cherry Htet, her bodyguard and a police second lieutenant, was arrested in September of last year. She was sentenced to three years in prison for violating police regulations in December 2021 and to two more years for incitement in March. The 30-year-old was sent from Naypyitaw detention centre to Yamethin Prison after the second conviction.


Detained Australian economist Sean Turnell, who was sentenced in late September to three years in prison by a junta-controlled court, was transferred to Insein Prison in Yangon following the verdict, according to a source familiar with his case.

Turnell was one of five people handed three-year sentences on September 29 under the Official Secrets Act and Immigration Act by a special court inside the Naypyitaw detention centre. The others were ousted State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and three members of her cabinet.

The following day, the 58-year-old economic advisor to Suu Kyi was initially sent—along with the cabinet members—to Yamethin Prison, located around 55 miles north of Naypyitaw in Mandalay Region. Turnell reportedly tested positive Covid-19 upon his arrival at the facility. 

The source told Myanmar Now on Monday that Turnell was then transferred to Insein Prison from Yamethin that day. His condition following his Covid-19 diagnosis was not known at the time of reporting.


A Japanese documentary filmmaker detained in a Myanmar prison had three more years added to his sentence on October 12, bringing his total prison term to 10 years.

Earlier this month, 26-year-old Toru Kubota was handed a three-year sentence for incitement and seven years for violating Section 33a of the Electronic Transactions Law, to be served concurrently. The second conviction is regarding the alleged use of electronic communications technology to engage in acts deemed as threatening to state security, law and order, peace, or national solidarity.

The October 12 verdict was for reportedly violating the terms of his visa, and therefore the Immigration Act. Kubota entered Myanmar from Thailand on a tourist visa on July 1, according to the military council, and had reportedly contacted local activists ahead of filming the widespread anti-junta protests taking place at that time. He was arrested on July 30 while obtaining footage of a demonstration against the coup. 

Shawn Crispin, senior Southeast Asia representative of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) described Kubota’s latest conviction as “excessive, grotesque, and must be reversed.”

“Myanmar’s military junta is sending a deliberate and threatening message to all foreign journalists that they too could be imprisoned under arbitrary laws if they report on its crimes and abuses,” Crispin said in a statement.

According to CPJ’s global prison census published last December, Myanmar is second only to China in the number of journalists it jailed in 2021.

Editor’s Note: This edition of Beyond the Headlines was updated on October 19 to include news concerning Sean Turnell and Toru Kubota.

Related Articles

Back to top button