Mandalay ultranationalist and militia leader survives assassination attempt  

A notorious ultranationalist and leader of the Myanmar army-backed Pyu Saw Htee militia survived an assassination attempt in Mandalay on Wednesday morning, Myanmar Now has learned.

Shots were fired at Chit Ko Ko, 45, while he was driving a car near 19th Street in Aungmyay Thazan Township, according to a local man. Further details of the assault were not known, but only the front of his car was reportedly damaged, and he was not injured. 

While no resistance group had claimed responsibility for the attack at the time of reporting, the local source said that Chit Ko Ko had been under surveillance by anti-junta forces due to his involvement in the militia. 

“The urban guerrilla forces have set their sights on him for a while, but they haven’t had a chance to attack him,” he explained. 

“He’s a big military informant and a powerful Pyu Saw Htee member. He is armed as well,” the local alleged.

Chit Ko Ko has long been known to be a follower of ultranationalist monk Wirathu and has been seen attending or leading pro-military rallies in Mandalay organised in support of the affiliated Ma Ba Tha movement.

He was most recently spotted amongst a group of men in monastic attire at Mandalay’s Mahamuni Pagoda on October 14 who identified themselves with a sign as the “Patriotic Monks of Upper Myanmar.” They protested the shooting deaths of Buddhist pilgrims at Kyaiktiyo hill in Mon State earlier this month, which the junta blamed on resistance forces and the resistance attributed to the military’s indiscriminate gunfire into the area following a clash. 

Chit Ko Ko has been described by sources who know him as having close ties to Mandalay Region military commander Maj-Gen Ko Ko Oo and Lt-Col Tun Win Soe, head of intelligence. Following the February 2021 coup, he was accused of collaborating with these military officials to arrest local activists and members of the resistance.

He previously lived in Mandalay’s Maha Aungmyay Township but recently relocated to the military base inside Mandalay Palace along with his family, where he reportedly lives under the protection of the junta’s armed forces.

“He was always with the military whenever they sealed off houses or made arrests. He was deliberately helping the military oppress the public,” a man from Maha Aungmyay’s Sein Pan ward said. 

Rumours circulated in late September that Chit Ko Ko had been stabbed to death at a pub in Mandalay’s Chanmyathazi Township, but he later demonstrated that he was still alive by posting a video on Facebook in which he disassembled a gun.

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