Military casts a wide net with a series of late-night raids

Myanmar’s military carried out a series of raids around the country late Wednesday night, targeting senior political figures, election officials, and others amid growing unrest over last week’s coup.

Although reports of the raids were circulating widely through the day on Thursday, details of the arrests did not emerge until late evening.

Those taken into custody include the chief ministers of Tanintharyi region and Shan, Chin, Kachin, Karen and Rakhine states, who had been under de facto house arrest since the military seized power on February 1.

Mar Mar Lwin, the wife of Tanintharyi’s minister for municipal affairs, Ho Pin, told Myanmar Now that chief minister Myint Maung was arrested at his home in a residential compound for senior officials late Wednesday night.

“The chief minister was arrested last night. A military van and two police cars came and took him away,” she said, adding that residents had been ordered to leave the compound by 4pm the next day.

Thura Shwe Mann, a former general who later became the head of the military’s proxy party and speaker of parliament, and his son Toe Naing Mann were also reportedly among those detained.

Shwe Mann, who was one the most powerful generals in the military junta that ruled Myanmar until it handed over power to a quasi-civilian government in 2011, was said to have developed a good working relationship with NLD chair Aung San Suu Kyi.

Suu Kyi, who served as state counsellor after her party first came to power in 2016, has also been held incommunicado since her arrest during the first round of raids at the start of the coup.

Videos shared on social media showed some of the detainees being forcibly removed from their homes as the newly installed junta moved to neutralize opposition to its rule.

Some of those arrested have played an active role in anti-coup protests that started last weekend. Although the protests continued on Wednesday, crowds in Yangon appeared to be more scattered.

Most of the arrests targeted district- and township-level election officials around the country, signalling that the regime is intent on pursuing its claims that last year’s election, which the NLD won in a landslide, was rigged.

In Kayah state, around 20 members of various district and township election sub-commissions, including the state’s election commission chair, Than Soe, were arrested Wednesday night, according to NLD candidate Sai Lin Lin Oo, who contested in Bawlakhe township.

Hla Shwe, the chair of the election sub-commission in Kalaywa township, Sagaing region, and its secretary Bo Thu Htet were arrested at around 1:30am on Thursday and taken by the military to Kalay.

In Mandalay region’s Kyauk Padaung township, election sub-commission chair Myint Swe Aye and secretary Wan Tin were both taken away in a military truck at around 1am, according to a local source.

Khaing Khaing Lae, an NLD lawmaker elected to the Mon state parliament, said that the chair and secretary of the election sub-commission for Thaton division were also arrested.

In Shan state, at least 10 people were arrested, including chief minister Dr Lin Htut, state-level NLD members, and officials of local election sub-commissions.

NLD officials in the state said they were unable to contact a number of candidates from the party who had won seats in last year’s election.

At least 170 people are believed to have been arrested since last week’s military takeover abruptly ended Myanmar’s decade-old transition to civilian rule.

Below was a video posted by a resident in Mandalay which showed the police were approaching a house on the night of February 11 to arrest a doctor participating in a civil disobedience movement.  


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