Political prisoners rescued in ambush on police vehicle near Mandalay

Local resistance forces in Mandalay Region’s Amarapura Township say they freed two political prisoners and killed two police officers in an ambush early Thursday morning.

The incident occurred in Myitnge, a town just south of Mandalay, at around 8am, when People’s Defence Force (PDF) groups active in the area attacked a police vehicle that was transporting the prisoners to Obo Prison, a spokesperson for one of the groups involved told Myanmar Now.

“We had received word that they were coming, so we made preparations and waited for them there,” said Nay Lin, the spokesperson for the Amarapura Township PDF.

According to Nay Lin, there were eight prisoners in the vehicle, as well as seven police officers—three in the front, including the driver, and four in the back with the prisoners.

“We actually managed to free all eight at first, but six of them were recaptured,” he said.

Myitnge bridge, where the ambush was carried out, is less than 15km south of Mandalay, where security had been tightened on Thursday for a visit by junta chief Min Aung Hlaing.

According to a report by regime mouthpiece the Global New Light of Myanmar, the junta leader was in Myanmar’s second-largest city to attend a gathering to promote the local economy, held at an industrial park in the southern part of the city.

Several groups were involved in the attack, and they are now preparing to take the freed prisoners to a liberated area, according to Nay Lin.

The prisoners’ identities were not disclosed for safety reasons.

“We are now trying to send the two escapees to a safe place. But I’m worried that the other six will be executed. We can’t rest our minds, as we know how cruel the military can be,” he said.

Another reason he was concerned about the well-being of the six who did not escape, he said, was that several gunshots were heard soon after the PDF forces withdrew from the area.

According to a resident of Myitnge, one of the prisoners was also injured in the attack.

“I heard the PDF groups ambushed the junta forces and that some police officers were killed. I also heard that one of the political prisoners in the car was shot in the thigh,” he said.

The eight prisoners were reportedly on their way back to Mandalay’s Obo Prison after being held for three days at a police station in Kyaukse, some 30km south of Myitnge, while they attended court hearings.

According to locals, a large number of soldiers were conducting searches and raiding nearby villages following Thursday’s attack.

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