Resistance fighter son killed by Myanmar military while trying to rescue captured commander father

Three members of the anti-junta People’s Defence Force (PDF) were killed by the military while trying to rescue their captured battalion commander on Monday in Sagaing Region’s Myaung Township, according to representatives of the resistance group.

During a 5am raid on the village of Pa Rein Ma—located on the eastern banks of the Chindwin River—a 70-soldier Myanmar army column arrested 50-year-old Thet Khine, who commanded Battalion 4 of the Sagaing District PDF. At the time he encountered the advancing troops, he was patrolling the area on motorbike.

As the junta soldiers took Thet Khine to the outskirts of Pa Rein Ma and in the direction of their camp, four miles to the east in Kyauk Yit village, the battalion commander’s 20-year-old son and deputy squadron commander Lin Lin pursued them, shooting at the column and initiating a battle which lasted one hour.

He was accompanied by other resistance fighters from the PDF and the local People’s Defence Team. Heavy artillery fire by the military killed Lin Lin and two other local guerrilla fighters, whose identities were not confirmed at the time of reporting. Seven others were injured. 

“Lin Lin was furiously chasing the military down after his father was taken. They fired back with equal force,” a member of the Myaung Township People’s Defence Team said.

He explained that they had to leave behind the body of one of their slain comrades, along with several weapons. Junta soldiers reportedly burnt the man’s remains on top of a pile of confiscated motorcycles before returning to Kyauk Yit.

Local resistance forces returned to Pa Rein Ma after the troops had left and found Thet Khine’s body outside of the village’s entrance, riddled with wounds.

“It appears he was beaten during his interrogation and ultimately killed when he refused to answer their questions—I think he was killed before the battle began,” another Myaung PDF member said. “He was beaten so badly that his facial features were indistinguishable. There were also two gunshot wounds to his chest.”

The PDF member said that they had received intel that the military would be attacking Pa Rein Ma that day, and had strategised about how they would intercept them, but the troops managed to enter the village unnoticed.

“We always used to stop them with our scouts, but this time we heard they were coming, so we headed towards the entrance to the village while Thet Khine patrolled around the perimeter,” he explained. “We didn’t know that the junta soldiers had already infiltrated the village. He later ran directly into them and was captured.”

The Sagaing District PDF’s Battalion 4, which Thet Khine headed, used to operate as the Myaung Special People’s Defence Force in the township, but later joined the armed wing of the publicly mandated National Unity Government, and was renamed.

The junta troops from Kyauk Yit who killed him are known to carry out frequent raids on villages in western Myaung. Earlier this month, they attacked a house where a funeral service was being held in the community of Na Nwin Kaing; one civilian was shot and killed in that assault.

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