A school headmaster who was abducted from his home in northern Sagaing Region’s Homalin Township on Sunday is believed to be dead, according to local sources.
The victim, Aung San Win, was kidnapped at around 1am on Sunday by armed assailants who accused him of funding People’s Defence Force (PDF) groups, a source close to his family told Myanmar Now.
The 38-year-old father of three had joined the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) against military rule, but was not a supporter of the armed resistance movement, the source said.
The Homalin Township education board had called for his immediate release, but later learned that he had been killed by his captors, according to residents of his home village of Thet Kei Taung.
Locals are still looking for his body, which they believe was thrown into a river, the sources said.
In a statement released on Monday, the anti-regime Homalin Township People’s Administration Team claimed that one of Aung San Win’s abductors was a member of the Shanni Nationalities Army (SNA), an ethnic armed group that has been accused of assisting junta troops active in northern Sagaing.
SNA spokesperson Col Sai Aung Mein said that the group was looking into the matter.
“We can’t say for sure if he was actually taken by an SNA member. All we know is what local people have said. But we definitely did not give any member authority to arrest a civilian without a valid reason,” he said.
“If one of our troops actually committed this crime, we will take appropriate actions against them. We have rules and regulations put in place for matters like this,” he added.
The SNA was founded in 1989 and is based in ethnic Shanni areas of Sagaing’s Homalin, Hkamti and Banmauk townships and Mohnyin, Mogaung, Myitkyina and Banmaw townships in Kachin State.
On July 11, the Homalin Township People’s Administration Team released a statement accusing the SNA of collaborating with regime forces in the arrest and murder of two members of the Homalin PDF.
“The SNA keeps saying that it is the only organisation that can protect the Shanni people. But it will no longer have the support of the Shanni people if they continue to act like this,” said a member of the township administration team.
The Pinlebu PDF, based in neighbouring Pinlebu Township, has also accused the SNA of taking part in recent raids carried out by regime forces in the area.
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A relative of one of the women reported that they were all believed to be in good health, but added that contact with them has been extremely limited due to security measures.
“It hasn’t been easy to visit them in prison. When we go, we are subjected to thorough searches at military checkpoints. Right now, we can’t go at all,” said the family member, who did not want to be identified.
According to a statement released by the National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC)—an anti-regime coalition group—on Sunday, more than 3,400 women have been arrested by the military since it seized power in February 2021.
Regime authorities have also killed at least 300 women since the coup, the NUCC statement added.
The latest figures compiled by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) show that a total of 16,432 people have been arrested for resisting the regime, of whom 12,973 were still in detention as of November 25.
Of the nearly 5,800 prisoners released by the junta on November 17 as part of an amnesty to mark Myanmar’s National Day, only 53 were political prisoners, according to the AAPP.