Soldiers make arrests in Kachin after PDF ‘attacks junta-backed militia’ 

Soldiers made arrests in Kachin State on Wednesday, two days after local People’s Defence Force (PDF) fighters reportedly clashed with a junta-backed militia in Mohnyin Township. 

Those detained were two “quiet” employees of an electricity office in the town of Nam Mar, according to a witness and a local resident.  

Military vehicles arrived at the office in Shan Su neighbourhood at around 5pm and troops detained Aung San Win, 25, and Kyaw Kyaw, 26, said a man who saw the arrests.

“They were playing caneball in front of the electricity office when they were arrested,” he said. “I don’t know why they were arrested.” 

The two young men were from Kan Kone Gyi village and the town of Maw Lu in Sagaing Region. They had been staying in Nam Mar’s Nyaung Kone neighbourhood while working at the electricity office. 

The man who witnessed their arrests said he had heard a rumour they were being held at the compound of the nearby 386th Artillery Battalion but had been unable to confirm this. 

Another resident described the young men as kind and hospitable. “They never even take tips when we need their help with electrical matters,” the resident said. “They were such quiet kids.”

The junta has not publicised the mens’ arrests. 

In the state capital of Myitkyina, another seven youths were arrested on Wednesday during stop and search operations on public roads, locals said.

The arrests came two days after local media reported a clash in Nam Mar’s Chaung Thar ward. A group of PDF fighters on three motorbikes arrived at the house of Tun Tun, a member of a local junta-backed militia, according to the Kachin News Group. 

Tun Tun was drinking with other militia members at the time of the attack – a shootout ensued and Tun Tun was killed along with a militia member named Chit Ko Ko and a PDF fighter, the outlet said, quoting a local resident. 

No local PDF chapter has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

On June 1, a former administrator from Nam Mar named Aye Min who was believed to be aligned with the junta was assassinated by guerrilla forces. The junta subsequently arrested Myint Wai, from Shan Su neighbourhood on suspicion of involvement in the killing. 

In the days after the killing, Myo Yarzar, the administrator of the nearby Myo Ma Yan Aung neighbourhood, resigned from his post.  

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