Military detains over 90 Mandalay Region locals for alleged funding of PDF

Soldiers targeted civilians, including elderly people sheltering from floods, in mass arrests along the south bank of the Ayewarwady after suffering losses in recent attacks by resistance forces

The military is currently holding over 90 Mandalay Region villagers at the Ngazun Administrative Council Office on suspicion of supporting anti-junta fighters, according to  resistance groups and other local sources. 

The military made arrests in villages near the south bank of the Ayeyarwady River after setting up a base in Tha Kyin village on the western side of the township, according to a civilian living nearby. 

The military arrested some 60 villagers from Tha Kyin village on September 3, but subsequently released 30 of them. 

Another local source said the military arrested 57 locals from Let Pan Thar village and four from Aung Thukha village on Monday on suspicion of having associations with the PDF. 

“The military arrested people from villages near where they were attacked, as they had lost some men. They said the villagers were funding the PDF. All of them were sent to Ngazun,” the local source said.

The mass arrest, which included some elderly villagers, took place while locals were sheltering from floods at the Let Pan Thar village monastery. The military reportedly shouted abuse at the elderly detainees during the arrest, according to the same local source.

There were some 200 junta soldiers involved in the raids on the villages, from Light Infantry Division 99 based in Meiktila, Mandalay Region and Light Infantry Battalion 33 based in Sagaing, Sagaing Region.

According to an officer of the township People’s Defence Team, around 100 of the soldiers stationed in Tha Kyin village participated in the raids on neighbouring villages on Monday.

The people’s defence group officer said that, in addition to the arrests, the military’s assaults from the temporary base they had established in Let Pan Thar had displaced around 2,000 locals from nearby villages. 

Military forces are still stationed at two schools in Tha Kyin village, which is located on the Ngazun-Ngan Myar road 12 miles west of Ngazun, and have gained control over the western part of the township.

Fighters for local anti-junta defence groups believe the military was trying to gain control over Mandalay Region’s Ngazun, Myingyan, and Tada-U townships to prevent resistance groups from entering Mandalay, where the military’s Central Regional Command is headquartered.

At present, the defence groups are primarily using drones to attack junta forces stationed in the area. However, the defence groups did not provide an exact number of junta casualties.

The military council has not released any statement regarding attacks or arrests in Ngazun Township.

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