Junta Steps Up Crackdown, Arresting Civilians, Dismantling Barricades in Kayah State

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By Kantarawaddy Times

Armed forces have been raiding and arresting many people in Kayah State as the junta escalates efforts to suppress the protest movement resisting its rule since it seized power of the Southeast Asian nation during a coup three months ago.

On Friday, April 30, armed forces raided the home of Khoo Laurance, a former village headman in Nawng Yar (B) Ward, of Loikaw Township. At about 3am, soldiers and police broke down his door, but he wasn’t home.

“They destroyed his door and damaged his other property,” said an eye witness. A seventy-year-old woman was the only one in the house at the time of the raid. The source suspects Khoo Laurance went back to his native village after resigning as headman.

The same day, armed forces arrested Saw Hpo Hla Min in his home in Nwer Lawo village. He was also a villager headman who resigned.

At press time, Kantarawaddy Times couldn’t determine how many headmen authorities arrested in Loikaw Township. Armed forces could be seen patrolling the township and removing barricades erected by civilians.

In Hpruso town, armed forces arrested two youths in Htee Tayel ward. According to a man from the area, Maung Gaybert and Maung Tin Win were detained at a beetle-nut shop at about 9am on April 29. It is unclear why authorities detained the youths. According to the source, they may have circulated flyers opposing the military regime, but was not sure about this.

Since last week, armed forces have been driving around the town, removing barricades. Sometimes they fire at homes with slingshots and rubber bullet when residents join the 8pm ritual banging pots and pans in opposition against the military regime.

Soldiers in Pekon Township, southern Shan State, arrested three civilians on April 28 suspected of encouraging civil servants to join the protest movement and participating in demonstrations.

Thirty soldiers arrived in four military vehicles arresting Tun Aye and daughter, Ma Hnin Hnin Oo, in the township bordering Kayah State, according to a man knowledgeable with the incident. Aye Shwe was arrested at another location. The same day, barricades in Nyaung Pintha and Myo Kon wards were removed.

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