Home of Myanmar opposition government’s defence secretary targeted in bomb attack

The Mandalay home of Naing Htoo Aung, the secretary of defence for the National Unity Government (NUG), was bombed in a targeted attack by a group of unidentified armed men on Tuesday night, according to local sources. 

The alleged perpetrators were men in plainclothes, who were also seen by eyewitnesses torching a goldsmith’s workshop behind the house, located in Natogyi Township. 

After the explosion, the house caught on fire and burned down, the eyewitnesses said. Another home nearby also reportedly caught fire in the blaze.  

It was reportedly the second attempt by arsonists to destroy the 36-year-old defence secretary’s house, which has not been occupied by Naing Htoo Aung or his family members since they went into hiding following the February 2021 military coup. 

“It’s been a while since his relatives left. Before, several people lived there,” a local man told Myanmar Now. 

A local woman said that hours before the arson attack, some 20 gunmen in civilian clothing arrived in the neighbourhood from Myingyan, to the west.  

She explained that she heard gunshots and shouting in the area but remained out of sight.  

She speculated that the men were members of the military-backed Pyu Saw Htee militia, which have been involved in the repression of anti-coup resistance particularly in central and upper Myanmar. 

“Some residents of the neighbourhood were forced to leave the area yesterday evening. We saw the military also deploy soldiers to serve as lookouts,” she said on Wednesday. “They later joined with the Pyu Saw Htee people from Natogyi and torched the goldsmith’s workshop and then bombed the main house.”

Myanmar Now was unable to independently verify the eyewitnesses’ accounts of the events, or the identity of the perpetrators.

Naing Htoo Aung declined to comment on Wednesday regarding the attack on his home.

He was elected as a Lower House parliamentarian representing Natogyi Township for the National League for Democracy in both 2015 and 2020.

After the military coup, Naing Htoo Aung joined other ousted MPs in forming the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, before later taking on the role as defence secretary in the NUG.

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