Soldiers burn house and detain mother of protester after police officer shot dead in Tanintharyi

Soldiers burned down the home of an anti-coup activist and arrested the mother of a protest leader in Tanintharyi on Monday after local guerrillas shot and killed a police officer.

Military units arrived in Pyinhtein village, Launglon Township shortly after officer Nay Myo Aung was gunned down on the nearby Launglon-Sitpye road. 

The soldiers raided the home of Min Lwin Oo, 31, who is part of the anti-junta Dawei District Strike Committee. When they were unable to find him they took his 56-year-old mother, Cho Than, instead. 

“It’s just absurd that my mother was taken for my involvement in the revolution,” Min Lwin Oo told Myanmar Now. 

“There’s no law stating that they can do such a thing,” he added. “I should be the one paying for my actions, not my mother. She didn’t even talk with anyone in the neighbourhood. She was always just busy with housework.” 

Cho Than, 56,was taken as hostage by soldiers when they could not find her son (Supplied)

He added that he would not surrender to the junta despite his mother being taken hostage.

“My mother’s a fearless woman, she would have already expected this. I even told her to stay elsewhere but she didn’t. She just said that she would face them bravely if she got arrested.”

Soldiers also ransacked the neighbouring village of Sitpyea the same day. They stormed the home of 21-year-old Wai Yan Soe, another Dawei District Strike Committee member, and when they couldn’t find him they burned the house down. 

The military also broke furniture and stole his belongings during the raid on his house, Wai Yan Soe told Myanmar Now. 

Junta spokesperson Zaw Min Tun did not answer calls seeking comment. 

A fire burns at Wai Yan Soe’s house on November 1 evening (Supplied)

Soldiers arrested a 14-year-old girl and four women working as Covid-19 control volunteers in Sitpyea in late August following an anti-coup street protest the same day. Those arrested were not involved in the protest, locals said.  

The Dawei District Strike Committee has used flash mob tactics to keep street protests alive in the area amid deadly crackdowns by the junta. Meanwhile other local groups have engaged in armed resistance. 

A group called the Nway Oo Guerrilla Force claimed responsibility for the assassination of the police officer on Monday and said it has also destroyed five junta-owned Mytel communication towers.

Junta forces have repeatedly targeted the family members of protesters since the February 1 coup with arrests and violence, which serve both as an attempt to coerce activists into handing themselves in and as a means to punish them. 

Late last month soldiers viciously beat a five-year-old girl and a 70-year-old woman in a village in Magway Region because, locals believe, they are distantly related to a local protest leader. 

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