Some 20 minors detained in Magway Region for promoting anti-junta protest

More than 20 teenagers from Magway Region’s Chauk Township were still in junta custody after being arrested on Monday in connection to a protest against Myanmar military repression. 

According to the Magway People’s Strike Committee, four of the youth were detained while distributing flyers promoting a protest scheduled for Tuesday known as the ‘six twos’ strike due to its date on February 22, 2022. 

“They were then tortured until they gave information about the other students,” Chit Win Maung, an officer in the regional strike committee, told Myanmar Now. 

The others were arrested later that evening, he said. 

The detainees are high school students, and at least five of them are girls, according to a strike committee statement. 

Several youth were arrested nationwide for rallying the public to wear traditional hats, thanaka and flowers and defy the junta on the auspicious day. 

Chit Win Maung said that the students in Chauk had been held and abused at an area military base locally known as “Bo Eain 60.” 

“The boys were stripped naked and slapped and beaten repeatedly. The [suspected] leader of the students had lit cigarettes pressed onto his penis,” he said.

The students were taken away in three vehicles, according to a local man from Chauk, who said that the anti-dictatorship movement in the township was struggling. 

“We are living in fear as we have nowhere left to run. Therefore, there aren’t many anti-dictatorship activities here,” he explained. 

Many Myanmar army troops have been stationed in neighbouring Singu Township across the regional border in Mandalay, due to the area’s proximity to Sagaing, which has a strong presence of anti-junta resistance forces. 

Chit Win Maung said that the strike committee feared for the lives of the youth who had been taken into military custody.

“This is a very threatening situation if you look at it from a humanitarian point of view, especially because they’re still children,” he told Myanmar Now. “We are very concerned for their lives and health.”

As for the military, he added, “they are not even trying to hide their cruelty anymore.”

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, at least 1,579 civilians have been killed by the military since the coup in February last year; several died during interrogation.

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