Junta arrests 20 people in neighbouring ward hours after assassination of Mytel executive

Some 20 young people living in a hostel in Yangon’s Mayangone Township were reportedly arrested on the evening of November 4, the same day that Thein Aung, former military officer and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Mytel, was shot and killed near his home in the same area. 

Thein Aung was shot four times on Tay Nu Yin St in Ward 7(c), situated next to the Yangon Region military command, at around 7am that day. 

Some 150 troops began a search of the township in the hours after the executive’s death, culminating in the arrests at the Daw Kyi Nyunt hostel in Mayangone’s Ward 6, according to a local source. 

“We still don’t know the names of the victims,” the local said, adding that both women and men were taken into junta custody, but the hostel owner was not among those arrested. 

He added that no one in the area had been able to contact the families of the detainees, and he did not know where they were being held. 

It is also not known if their arrest was linked to the shooting of Thein Aung. 

The junta-assigned administrator for Ward 7(c) told Myanmar Now on the day Thein Aung was killed that there had been no arrests connected with his murder. 

Tay Nu Yin St, where the Mytel CFO lived, is a gated community home to a number of retired military officers and guarded by a 24-hour security team, who, according to the ward administrator, inspects all visitors to the street. 

Three young men were reportedly spotted on CCTV records entering the neighbourhood on bicycles moments before Thein Aung’s death. 

However, a military council media statement indicated that a lone gunman was responsible for the shooting of the executive and his wife, Dr Theint Aung Thu, who was injured but survived. The perpetrator reportedly escaped along the Yangon-Pyay Road, according to the junta. 

The ward administrator said Dr Theint Aung Thu was being treated at the military hospital in Mingaladon Township, but the military’s statement said that she was at Yangon General Hospital. 

The extent or severity of her injuries was not known at the time of reporting. 

Questions continue to be raised regarding whether the attack was carried out by anti-junta resistance forces or attackers close to the military. 

In addition to serving as the CFO of Mytel—a joint venture between the military and Viettel, which is owned by Vietnam’s defence ministry—Thein Aung held leadership positions in multiple military-owned ventures, including as the general manager of the conglomerate Myanmar Economic Corporation and its subsidiary Star High Co., Ltd. 

The Myanmar public has been carrying out a widespread boycott campaign against junta-owned businesses including Mytel, reportedly causing a US$25m loss in the company’s profits in the three months immediately following Myanmar’s February 1 coup.  

More than 200 of Mytel’s 12,000 telecommunications towers nationwide have been destroyed in attacks by resistance forces using makeshift explosive devices. The military has responded by employing security guards at the sites and laying landmines around towers, according to Mytel engineers who are on strike in accordance with the Civil Disobedience Movement and in opposition to the coup regime. 

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