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Junta arrests 11 civilians in Myanmar’s Kachin state

Junta troops have arrested 11 people in a raid on Myitkyina township in Myanmar’s Kachin state, locals told RFA Thursday.

They said that six men and five women were detained three days ago after around 30 soldiers went to a house and accused the residents of having ties to the local People’s Defense Force, part of the pro-democracy forces created in 2021. 

As of Thursday, the detainees were still being questioned at the Northern Command base in Myitkyina, according to township residents.

One local, who didn’t want to be named for security reasons, told RFA none of the arrested have links to anti-junta militias and had just gathered for a celebration.

“I heard people chanting ‘Happy Birthday’ at around 8:00 p.m. I think it was a birthday party, with people gathered for food and drinks,” the local said.

“Some employees of phone shops were among those detained. I have no idea who informed the junta soldiers about them.”

The local added that the arrests may have been prompted by an attack on the Northern Command in which five bombs exploded close to the base. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack and the junta has not released any statement about it.

Win Ye Tun, the junta’s spokesperson for Kachin state, declined to provide comments. 

According to figures exclusively compiled by RFA, the junta arrested at least 700 people between June 2023 and August 2023, and among them, only 500 were released.

More than 24,000 people, including pro-democracy activists, have been arrested since the Feb. 1, 2021, coup, according to the Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma).

Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Mike Firn and Taejun Kang.