Mandalay NLD member and wife killed in junta interrogation center

Two days after a youth member of the National League for Democracy (NLD) and his wife were arrested by the military authorities in Mandalay, their families were told that they had died in junta custody, and their bodies not returned for burial.  

Thae Htwe Maung—also known as Mone Marn—a 32-year-old NLD party member, and Nang, his 38-year-old wife, were arrested on December 13. Their families only found out that they had died when they inquired about them two days later.

They leave behind a 10-year-old son. 

The couple was accused of funding the anti-junta armed resistance group the People’s Defence Force (PDF) and were taken in for questioning by 30 military personnel from their home in Mandalay’s Pyigyidagun Township, a source close to their family told Myanmar Now.   

The family went to the township police station on December 15 to inquire about their condition and were told that the couple had died. 

“When we went to the township police station immediately after their arrest, they told us that they were at the interrogation centre. Rumours started flying the next day that they had died, so we went there to ask about them again and we were told that both of them had been cremated,” said the family friend who opted to remain anonymous.

Myanmar Now was not able to speak with the family members of the deceased. Junta representatives also did not return phone calls with requests for comment. 

A photo of Thae Htwe Maung sent to his friends through Messenger on December 13, the day of his arrest (left) and an archive photo of him.

The source close to the family said that they had heard through a junta source that Nang was killed first, followed by Thae Htwe Maung, but the claim could not be independently verified.

“They threatened Thae Htwe Maung saying that they would kill his wife if he didn’t confess and when he said he didn’t know anything, they actually killed her. He was killed afterwards as well. That’s what we heard,” the source said. 

A friend of Thae Htwe Maung said that he appeared to have been forced to call his contacts by his captors on the day of his arrest. 

“He called me from his mobile phone twice. He sounded really weird. It was like he was trying to tell us that he had been taken,” the friend said. “When we told him to send us a photo of himself, he sent his photo in which you could see that his forehead was swollen.”

Many detainees have reportedly been made to make such calls by the junta authorities in an attempt to trace connections and gather information. In some instances, they have suggested a meeting during the call, and officers have shown up at the scheduled time to arrest the individual.

Thae Htwe Maung was described by another youth member of the NLD in Mandalay as “very kind but mischievous” and was known for playfully teasing his colleagues and peers. 

“He loved his friends so much. He was very politically active,” the youth member said, adding, “It’s such a loss that he had to die this way.”

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), a total of 1,362 civilians have been killed by the regime since it seized power on February 1, including dozens who have died while under interrogation.

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