Regime authorities arrested the parents and siblings of a Yangon University student after failing to apprehend him during a raid on his home on Sunday, according to sources.
An officer of the Eastern Yangon Student Union told Myanmar Now that the family of Nyan Win Htet, the student in question, is currently being held at the Dawbon Township police station.
The incident occurred on Sunday morning, when junta forces raided the home of the 20-year-old student and rounded up his entire family after finding that he wasn’t there.
Those arrested include Nyan Win Htet’s father Maung Win, his mother Kyin U, and five siblings, including a brother who is just 10 years old.
“We were told that they fired a round during the raid,” said the student union officer. “Luckily, he wasn’t at home at the time.”
He added that junta forces had previously attempted to arrest Nyan Win Htet at a monastery near Shwedagon Pagoda after learning that he had temporarily ordained as a monk during last month’s Thingyan holidays.
“It is completely unethical to arrest an entire family like this. However, this is nothing new for this regime,” the officer said, adding that international organizations and embassies would be informed of the junta’s actions.
The incident comes just days after three other students were arrested in Dawbon, according to the student union officer.
The students, Kaung Khant Naing, Hein Htet Zaw, and Thiha Aung, were all playing football at the time of their arrest last Thursday.
A 12-year-old child who happened to be at the football field when the arrests were made was also reportedly detained.
Myanmar’s junta routinely targets family members of wanted individuals in order to pressure them to turn themselves in.
In addition to using relatives as hostages, the regime also uses the detention of family members to compound the punishment of those it deems to be its enemies.
Last Wednesday, a day after it arrested 88 Generation Peace and Open Society activists Nu Nu Aung and Khet Khet, the junta took Nu Nu Aung’s daughter and 80-year-old mother into custody, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.
Leaked document confirms Myanmar junta is arming anti-resistance militias
The regime has long denied backing Pyu Saw Htee militia groups terrorising civilians in Sagaing and other regions
The junta’s firearm licences will allow for the possession of up to three of the following: revolvers up to .38 caliber in size, as well as pistols up to 9mm, hunting and air rifles, and 12-gauge shotguns and smaller. Fully automatic firearms are prohibited in this category, the home affairs ministry’s document said.
Permits authorise the ownership of one pistol larger than 9mm, a rifle or submachine gun. These arms must be registered at township-level police stations as state-owned weapons and only “legally formed security forces, counter-insurgency groups and militias” are eligible to use these weapons, the order said.
The military’s home affairs ministry will determine the number of firearms to be allocated to the regime’s security forces, and the defence ministry will do so for the counter-insurgency groups and militias, according to the document.
Retired army personnel will need to seek recommendations from the military’s defence ministry and the office of the army commander-in-chief to apply for licences and permits that would allow them to continue to carry the guns they were issued during their service.
The move has been seen as a justification for the junta, led by Min Aung Hlaing, to release arms to those loyal to him in support of his claim to power. Facing declining troop numbers and stunted recruitment efforts, the military has formed, trained and armed its own militias, known as the Pyu Saw Htee. The groups, made up of individuals loyal to the Myanmar army, have been called on to operate in resistance strongholds such as Sagaing and Magway regions.
Militias and the monkhood meet in Myanmar’s heartland
A notorious ultranationalist monk leads efforts to forcibly recruit locals into the junta-backed Pyu Saw Htee militias of Sagaing
Junta administrators and suspected informants have been routinely targeted in deadly attacks by resistance forces for collaborating with the military or supporting its administrative mechanism. Supporters of the regime took to social media welcoming the new weapons policy and claiming that it would make it easier for “people’s militias”—the official name provided by the military council—to access arms to defend themselves.
Military spokesperson Zaw Min Tun told BBC Burmese on Sunday that the regulation was adopted because there were “requests by the people for their self-defence,” referring to junta personnel and collaborators in danger of being singled out in assassination attempts by guerrilla forces.
While no information was provided on licensing fees, Zaw Min Tun only commented that these costs would be “affordable,” and that the responsibility for distributing arms might be allocated to an official “security committee” in the future.
Myanmar junta using relief funds to finance anti-resistance militia groups
The money was handed over to a monk who earlier this year called for the eradication of villages backing anti-regime forces
Junta forces seize control of strategic road after intense assault on resistance stronghold
The KNDF withdrew from Daw Ngan Kar under a barrage of missiles, airstrikes and artillery fire, but have vowed to retake the neighbourhood