Junta steps up raids and arrests in effort to stamp out Yangon guerrilla attacks

One person was reportedly killed and at least 35 young people were arrested during junta raids in Yangon as the military intensified their hunt for those involved in the resistance movement this week, according to eyewitnesses and residents. 

Soldiers carried out raids from Monday through Thursday in five townships across Myanmar’s largest city after resistance forces carried out several recent attacks against the junta’s armed forces. The raids largely targeted young, new tenants in apartment buildings. 

At least five people—three men and two women—were arrested at an apartment in Sanchaung Township on Monday night. They were all between 17 and 23 years old, according to another Sanchaung resident.

“I think they moved in not very long ago—only days before their arrest,” the resident told Myanmar Now.

On Tuesday night, six Dagon University students were arrested at an apartment on 39th St in downtown Kyauktada Township on the pretext of failing to report the required overnight guest registration to the junta’s ward authorities. 

Min Han Htet, chair of the Dagon University Student Union, said the six students appeared to have been targeted for arrest in advance and that he believed pro-military informants had given away their location. 

On Wednesday alone, at least 20 more young people were arrested during junta raids in four townships. On some occasions, soldiers also seized property belonging to the detainees. Most of Wednesday’s victims were also tenants who had recently moved into their respective apartments.

At around 12:30pm, around 50 soldiers and policemen raided an apartment on the sixth floor of a building on 22nd St in Latha Township. A young man was killed as junta forces fired gunshots and stormed the apartment. The victim’s identity was still unknown at the time of reporting.

A police official from the Latha police station confirmed to Myanmar Now that a person fell from an apartment and died that afternoon, but he could not provide further details except to claim that the police were not responsible. 

“We didn’t do anything on that day,” he told Myanmar Now by phone when asked about the raid. “We do not know which organisations were involved in the incident. We just received the information about the death and we didn’t have to go to the crime scene.”

Soldiers arrested at least three young men during the raid, according to a 22nd St resident. 

“One of the young men was forced to kneel down in the middle of the street and the troops beat him up so badly that there was a lot of blood,” the resident told Myanmar Now, adding that the man was in his 20s.

“Soldiers even threatened to shoot at the residents if they came out and looked.”

The soldiers sealed off the apartment—which the young men had just moved into that morning—after the arrests. The troops also seized their belongings and loaded them into a large vehicle, the local resident said.

That same afternoon, three more people were arrested during a raid at another apartment near Than Zay market in Lanmadaw Township. 

At 7pm on Wednesday, three men were also arrested in Sanchaung Township; at around the same time, soldiers carried out a raid on 19th St in Latha Township, but no arrests were made at that location, according to two Latha residents.

One of the residents said that the belongings of those targeted in Latha were seized and the apartment was sealed off. 

As the night continued, another 11 other people—six men and five women—were arrested at around 10pm in two different neighbourhoods in Kamayut Township, according to a resident. The individual said that eyewitnesses saw soldiers beating the detainees.  

“One of them was seemingly injured in the leg. Soldiers forcefully stepped on that leg. Another one was also beaten and lost consciousness. He was dragged along the street by a soldier and there was also blood on the street,” he said, citing an eyewitness account. 

The resident said soldiers confiscated property belonging to those arrested in Kamayut. Troops then reportedly returned to the neighbourhood the following day and arrested one more man. 

On Thursday, plainclothes troops raided a fourth floor apartment on 16th St in Lanmadaw Township at around 8pm and took a man, woman and a dog into junta custody, an eyewitness told Myanmar Now.  

“They started renting the place on September 2 so it was not even two weeks that they had been living there. Now [the troops] have sealed off their house,” the eyewitness said.

The Kamayut resident said he had witnessed more arrests in September than in previous months after the junta announced that short term tenants were required to report themselves as overnight guests to their ward administrators.

“We don’t know who [the soldiers] arrested but it seemed like they had updated information about their targets and went directly to their apartments to carry out the arrests,” the Kamayut resident said.

On September 9, the military ordered homeowners and landlords in Yangon and other cities to provide ward administrators with detailed information about all residents and short-term tenants living in their properties.

Anyone who fails to register short-term tenants or who is later found to have carried out an attack against the regime will have the ownership of their apartment or house taken over by the military, the junta warned.

On September 7, Myanmar’s shadow National Unity Government (NUG) declared the start of a “resistance war” against the junta that seized power in a coup on February 1.

Since then, the military council has increased its public presence, stopping vehicles and pedestrians more frequently in an effort to track down suspected members of the anti-junta resistance. 

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