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Junta captures 17 civilians in Myanmar’s Tanintharyi region

Junta troops have detained 17 civilians from a village in Myanmar’s southernmost Tanintharyi region, locals told RFA Wednesday.

They said the 12 women, two men and three children were arrested five days ago as they returned to the village in Kyunsu township and accused of supporting a local People’s Defense Force (PDF).

RFA has been unable to confirm the names and ages of those detained because phone and internet links are unreliable in the region.

The villagers were in a motor boat, returning from market, when they were stopped by junta troops, locals told RFA on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

A Kyunsu resident said the 17 are being held in the township’s police station and denied access to their families.

“They were arrested on the way home after buying rice, cooking oil and salt from Bait [Myeik city], and were accused of supporting PDFs near Tha Zin village by the police,” the local said. 

“It is said they were arrested because they allegedly bought the rice and cooking oil to support the PDFs.”

Another local resident told RFA that troops and police have been patrolling in speedboats near the coastal city of Myeik to check passengers in other vessels.

“They are collecting information like names, registration numbers and where people are heading from the jetty,” he said.

“Every single boat from Myeik and Kyunsu heading to villages has to report to the junta security forces.”

On July 25, a local People’s Defense Force attacked a police station in Kyunsu township and exchanged fire with the police, according to a Kyunsu township PDF statement.

The military junta has not released any statement about the situation. 

RFA called the junta spokesperson for Tanintharyi region, Yin Htwe, but he said he was in a meeting and turned off the phone.

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