Junta troops detain yet another child after shootout near Mandalay airport 

Junta soldiers detained a 12-year-old boy on Tuesday along with six others, including his family members, after resistance fighters clashed with the military near Mandalay International Airport.

Aung Swan Pyae was taken from the Shwe Kyal Zin tea shop as troops raided his village of Ohn Pin Chan in Sintgaing Township. Thirty-two-year-old Min Thu Tun, who is the boy’s father and owns the teashop, was also arrested.

The other detainees were Min Thu Tun’s wife, Tin Nwe Hlaing, his brother-in-law, and three of his employees, a local resident said.

Early on Tuesday morning, junta soldiers exchanged fire with fighters from the Sintgaing People’s Defense Force (PDF) near the airport in Tada-U, a second resident said on condition of anonymity. 

During the shootout, a junta soldier was killed and a PDF fighter was arrested, he said, adding that the soldiers then went to nearby Ohnbin Chan and raided a hut where someone lived.

“Within half an hour of the shootout, they raided the house and a nearby tea shop. I feel sorry for those arrested, including the kid. They were not involved in the shooting,” he said. 

Junta forces reportedly found handmade explosives at the hut and searched the tea shop because they suspected Min Thu Tun had helped the person who lived in the hut, the first resident told Myanmar Now.

The seven are being kept at a detention centre in Sintgaing and some are still being interrogated, said a lawyer representing them. 

Aung Swan Pyae will have a court hearing on Monday, while the trial against the adults will begin on July 16. “It is not yet known which charges they will have to face,” the lawyer said. 

The Sintgaing police station could not be reached for comment.

The junta has repeatedly arrested young children as part of its crackdown against both peaceful and armed resistance to its rule. 

Last month regime forces detained a four-year-old girl along with her mother and 17-year old sister when they were unable to find the girl’s activist father in Mogok. She was released after spending her fifth birthday in detention.  

Dr Htar Htar Lin, the former head of Myanmar’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout, was arrested early last month along with her husband, her seven-year-old son, and the family dog. Their whereabouts are still unknown.

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