Military arrests dozens of villagers after junta-appointed administrator’s family killed

At least 40 locals were taken into military custody after two immediate family members of a junta-appointed administrator were killed in a village in Sagaing Township in the region by the same name last weekend. 

Using knives, six assailants attacked Maung Maung Soe, the administrator for Pyitawthar village, and his family at their home on December 19. While Maung Maung Soe survived, his wife and daughter died in the incident. 

On Tuesday, two anti-junta guerrilla forces, the Myinmu Township-based Black Hawk group and the Sagaing Special Combat Force, claimed responsibility for the attack. 

Immediately following the assassination attempt, the military arrested two men and one woman from Pyitawthar. The next day, around 40 villagers were arrested after attempting to cross the Irrawaddy River, another local man told Myanmar Now.  

He said that the villagers were hiding in the woods en route to Kyauktalone village on the other side of the river, opposite to Pyitawthar. 

“We asked our friends living on that side and they confirmed their arrest. They said that the members of four households in total were arrested,” he explained on Tuesday. “We initially thought the military was spreading false news so that people wouldn’t try to flee to the other side but we later found out that all of the victims were taken away in a police vehicle.”

Another Pyitawthar villager also said that the 40 detained villagers were interrogated for one night at the police station and were last known to have been held in a community hall.

“Chaos ensued once they got to the other side as there were a lot of people, alarming the regional police station. They said they were arrested because they were trespassing. We don’t know anything for sure yet, though,” the villager said. 

An officer in the Black Hawk guerrilla force who claimed to have been involved in the assassination attempt told Myanmar Now that none of the people arrested had any connection to the attack on the administrator and his family. 

“All six of us managed to escape safely. None of the people arrested were involved in the attack. None of the perpetrators got arrested,” the officer said. 

Maung Maung Soe survived the attack despite being stabbed. His wife, 46-year-old Hlaing Hlaing Win, and his 22-year-old daughter, Aye Mya Mya Mwe, died of stab wounds.

“Our main mission was to kill the wife. The elder daughter was also a well-known military informant. So many people were harmed because of them,” the Black Hawk officer alleged. “We didn’t want to orphan the youngest daughter, so we spared the old man. That’s why we stabbed him in a non-fatal spot once we entered the house.”

He accused the administrator’s family members of tipping off the military on individuals who opposed their rule and said they had threatened the village by summoning troops from the Light Infantry Division 33, who told locals they would burn down the village if they harmed the administrator’s family. 

Locals claimed Hlaing Hlaing Win used to record anti-dictatorship activities taking place in front of her family’s house using a security camera and also used to report the identities of village protesters and National League for Democracy supporters to the military. 

They also allege that she was a member of the Union Solidarity and Development Party. 

Myanmar Now was unable to independently verify the allegations against the deceased. 

A Pyitawthar villager said that a funeral was held in the village cemetery for Hlaing Hlaing Win and Aye Mye Mya Mwe. Myanmar army soldiers were present, and forced local monks to hold a burial ceremony after they refused. 

“No monk wanted to attend their funeral but the soldiers threatened the village, saying that they would take the monks by force, so the monks held an emergency meeting and finally agreed to attend the funeral,” the villager explained. 

Military occupation around the village since the assassination caused several villagers to flee the area, according to a Pyitawthar woman. 

“No one is left in the village as the military has been patrolling the area around the village during the afternoons and is holding everyone they see at gunpoint and asking them what they are doing,” she said.

Myanmar Now tried to contact the junta’s information officers for comment on the aftermath of the assassination of the local administrator’s family, but all calls went unanswered. 

Related Articles

Back to top button