Missing youth protesters from Mandalay feared to be in military custody

Eight youth who are part of a strike committee in Mandalay have been missing since Monday, according to another member of the group. 

A committee leader told Myanmar Now that three of the young people were initially shot at and arrested by junta troops while photographing a flash mob protest in Mandalay that morning, and five others in their network disappeared later in the day. 

“Three people went missing first. According to people from the neighbourhood, gunshots were heard, so it’s possible that they were arrested,” he said. “The military could have found out about the other five after interrogating the first three.”

The victims were identified as Hein Min Zaw, Aung Zaw Myint, Naing Lin Tun, Kyaw Soe Moe, Kyaw Min Tun, Htet Ko, Thae Su and Ja Seng Aung—all in their 20s. 

Since the February 2021 coup, there have been several instances where people were taken by the junta’s forces and killed in military custody, their bodies not returned to their families. 

An interrogation centre located inside Mandalay Palace has become notorious for brutal acts of torture perpetrated against detainees, as has Mandalay’s Obo Prison.

According to data compiled by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), nearly 2,000 people have been killed by the military since the coup and more than 13,000 remain in detention.

The military has dismissed the numbers as exaggerated, but the AAPP claims that they are likely much higher, noting that they are compiled based on available records. 

The junta’s spokesperson did not answer Myanmar Now’s calls regarding the missing youth activists in Mandalay. 

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