Residents of three villages in Kachin State’s Hpakant Township have fled their homes in recent weeks amid a wave of arrests targeting suspected supporters of the anti-regime resistance.
According to local sources, the arrests began on April 21, when junta forces detained more than 200 people in the village of Hmaw Pon.
Less than a week later, on April 27, another 100 people were reportedly taken into custody in the nearby villages of Ma Zwut Yang and San Hkar.
“Those villages are located on the road to where KIA Battalion 6 is based,” said a local man, referring to the Kachin Independence Army, an ethnic armed group allied to the People’s Defence Force (PDF).
“The military thought that people in the villages were funding the PDF. They are trying to assert control over Hpakant,” the man added.
Residents of all three villages have since fled, according to the man, who is close to KIA and PDF forces in the area.
There were also reports that dozens of people were questioned in the village of Ma Lan Yang over the weekend. According to a resident, regime soldiers fired multiple gunshots as they entered the village on Saturday.
“They went around showing pictures of people and asking if anybody knew who they were. They were looking for a few people, not just one,” said the local, adding that the junta column that carried out the raid was still stationed near the village.
Several locals said that the regime forces also demanded bribes from jade companies operating in the area.
It was unclear how many of the detainees are still in custody, but only a handful are known to have been released, according to a local man.
“They released a few people, but not everyone. It seems they want to hold onto anyone they still think might be suspicious,” he said.
Most of the prisoners are being held at the jail in Ma Zwut Yang, sources said.
Plainclothes military personnel have also reportedly been seen conducting security searches on local roads and at the entrances and exits of villages in the area.
There were also unconfirmed reports that a man in his 30s was found dead in the area recently. The victim had been shot and was badly bruised, according to sources.
Source – Myanmar Now