Mandalay teen taken hostage by the junta still in detention 

The 13-year-old son of a National League for Democracy (NLD) member in Mandalay’s Amarapura Township remains in junta custody more than 10 days after he was detained when the military was unable to locate his father.

Soldiers took Thukha Aung hostage on November 14 from Kantaw village in Yay Kyi Pauk village tract, and beat his mother and elder brother. His father—local party member Htay Aung—was in hiding and it is not known why he is wanted by the junta. 

Locals from the Kantaw area said that the family attempted to negotiate the boy’s release with the junta-appointed village administrator, but were told that Thukha Aung would only be freed when Htay Aung turned himself in. 

“They tried to get him released a few days after his arrest but I don’t think they succeeded. The whole family has now fled the village,” a resident told Myanmar Now on the condition of anonymity.  

The teen was initially detained at the Myitnge police station but was later transferred to the station in Amarapura, according to the local source. 

His family members were not available for comment. 

Another local told Myanmar Now that the boy had been seen attending a local school while under the watch of men believed to be junta-appointed chaperones.

“I saw Thukha Aung coming to school in a civilian vehicle. There were two guards along with him,” the local source said. 

Myanmar Now tried to contact the Amarapura police station for comment on the boy’s arrest and the assault on his mother and brother, but all calls went unanswered. 

The military council has not released any information on the matter. 

It has become increasingly common for the junta to detain and even kill family members when they are unable to locate the individuals they have targeted. 

Anti-dictatorship resistance is strong in Amarapura Township, which is also the constituency of Mandalay Region’s ousted NLD chief minister Dr Zaw Myint Maung, who has been imprisoned and charged with multiple crimes by the coup regime. 

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