A member of the ousted National League for Democracy (NLD) party was kidnapped from his home in Mandalay on Monday morning by a group of armed men with no known affiliation, according to a neighbourhood resident.
Fifty-year-old Khin Zaw Thet, who lives in Maha Aungmyay Township’s Sein Pan ward, was forced into a car by six men in plainclothes, the local told Myanmar Now.
“He was taken in a [Toyota] Mark II. We don’t know which group took him,” the individual, who also lives in Sein Pan, said.
Khin Zaw Thet’s family—worried for his life—reportedly called the area’s No. 7 police station in an effort to obtain further information on his whereabouts, but officials said that he was not in their custody.
After participating in an anti-junta protest last year, Khin Zaw Thet was charged with incitement under Section 505a of the Penal Code and detained for three months before being released in a general amnesty in October.
Myanmar Now tried to contact the local police station and relevant junta officials but all calls went unanswered.
The military council has been carrying out daily arrests in Mandalay, and there has also been a rise in reported abductions in the city by armed men dressed as civilians.
On May 6, five men were reportedly taken by such individuals, also in Sein Pan ward. Their families have since been unable to contact them.
Commenting on the recent kidnappings, a Mandalay resident told Myanmar Now that public security had deteriorated since the February 2021 coup and that he no longer felt safe even in his own home.
“Nobody can live in peace anywhere anymore. They’re taking people as they please,” he said. “This is the only ‘change,’ if you can call it that, that [the military] managed to bring to the country.”
A group called Thwe Thout (meaning “blood-sworn comrades”) surfaced in April, issuing death threats against relatives of prominent junta opponents and announcing the launch of a campaign targeting members of the NLD, anti-regime resistance groups, and journalists investigating the military’s actions.
Thwe Thout has been most active in urban areas, particularly Mandalay. An NLD statement claimed that as of May 5, a total of 14 members and supporters of the party had been killed by the group. Eight of the murders took place in Mandalay.
Yee Mon, the defence minister for the National Unity Government (NUG) told Myanmar Now that he believed that junta officials from the Mandalay-based Central Regional Command had founded Thwe Thout as a way to target the families of members of the NLD and of the armed resistance forces.
He said that the NUG was in possession of evidence proving this phenomenon, but that it would be disclosed at a later date.
The military council has not responded to the claims.