Junta arrests 22 civilians after mine blast in Sagaing region

The arrested include 3 civil disobedience movement teachers.

Junta troops have been rounding up civilians in Myanmar’s northern Sagaing region in the hunt for supporters of anti-regime militias after a mine blast that killed two People’s Defense Force Members.

Three of the 22 civilians were released Sunday, leaving 19 in custody including three civil defense movement teachers, according to a spokesman for the local defense force.

The arrests follow the capture of two People’s Defense Force members in Indaw township on Friday after the mine blast hit a police vehicle escorted by military soldiers in Indaw town center.

“Troops are patrolling most of the areas and market places in town by vehicle,” said a local who requested anonymity. “The two boys who triggered the mine died. Two boys who went to see the place where the mine exploded were arrested.”

The information officer for the local People’s Defense Force (PDF) said troops rounded up locals from Friday through Sunday.

“On the morning of March 3, two young PDF comrades were arrested, and they keep arresting people accused of being donors [to the PDF],” said the spokesperson who declined to be named.

He said the three women – who teach students who dropped out of school to protest the Feb. 1, 2021 military coup – were 44-year-old Aye; 52-year-old Ohn Mar; and 39-year-old Thein Hla from Indaw town.

Locals said that all of the arrested civilians were being interrogated by Indaw-based military infantry battalion 186.

Many of the shops in Indaw town are closed and the streets are silent, according to locals.

RFA’s calls to the junta council spokesman for Sagaing region, Aye Hlaing, went unanswered.

Nearly 20,000 civilians have been arrested nationwide, including more than 2,000 from Sagaing region, in the 25 months since the coup, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

RFA News