Monk and four other anti-junta activists arrested in Mandalay

A prominent activist monk and four others were arrested at a monastery in Mandalay on Sunday, according to a member of a local strike committee.

The arrests were made at the May Ga Wun monastery in Mandalay’s Pyigyitagon Township, where Ven. Kalyana, a leader of an anti-regime monks’ association, was reportedly in hiding.

“I heard that they raided the monastery at around 5pm,” said the strike committee member, adding that one of the others who were arrested was detained earlier in the day.

The four youths who were also taken into custody were identified as Paing Nway Oo, Nay Ye, Hein Maung, and Kaung Khant Zaw, who is also known as Ngat.

“Ko Ngat was arrested first in the morning, and we lost contact with the others in the evening,” said the strike committee member.

According to Voice of Mandalay, a Facebook page that reports on local news, regime forces positioned at the northern and southern gates of the monastery were seen on Sunday stopping youths on motorcycles and beating one who was described as having long hair.

“I’m pretty sure the long-haired guy was Ngat,” said the strike committee member, who added that a hostel in Mandalay’s Maha Aungmyay Township was also raided at around 3am on Monday.

“Everyone’s trying to flee right now, including me. But I’m at a safe place now,” he said.

In a statement released on Sunday, the monks’ association said that Ven. Kalyana was in perfect health at the time of his arrest, and that his captors would bear full responsibility for any harm that befalls him.

On October 15, the junta raided two other monasteries in Pyigyitagon Township in a bid to capture Ven. Agga Vamsa, another prominent monk involved in the resistance movement.

Two youths, including a novice monk, were reportedly tortured in the raids on the Seittathukha and Thayetpin monasteries, but Ven. Agga Vamsa was not apprehended.

At least nine monks, including Ven. Kalyana, are currently in regime custody in Mandalay, according to activist sources.

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