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Junta troops beat Myanmar man unconscious during interrogation

Junta troops have arrested at least 10 young people from Myanmar’s delta region, beating one unconscious during questioning, locals told Radio Free Asia on Wednesday.

The youths, from three villages in Ayeyarwady region, were accused of involvement in political activities, residents from Kyonpyaw township said, citing sources close to the police station.

On Sunday, soldiers arrested a man from Kyee Taw Yoe village who goes by the name Freddy. Following Freddy’s arrest, around 10 youths from Nyaung Kone and Kyar Inn villages were rounded up. 

A Kyonpyaw township resident who wished to remain anonymous for security reasons told RFA the youths were thought to be connected to Freddy, who was tortured by the police.

“There was a young man who was arrested in Kyonpyaw on Feb. 25. He was the first to be arrested. He is still under investigation and in Ah Htaung police custody,” said the local. “We found out that the young man was unconscious because they beat him during the interrogation. After that, more than 10 people were arrested on political suspicion.”

Some other young people from the area have fled as a result of the arrests, he said.

RFA called Ayeyarwady region’s junta spokesperson Khin Maung Kyi to learn more about the arrests, but he did not answer calls.

In October, 20-year-old Kyonpyaw local Soe Paing Oo died during interrogation after being accused of communicating with resistance forces. 

Days earlier, he was awarded cash and a certificate  for his surrender in a junta ceremony. 

On Jan. 6, at least seven locals were arrested in connection with the murder of two village administrators, Than Min Aung and Ngwe Thein in Kyonpyaw township’s Ma Gu Yoe village, locals said. 

The township in eastern Ayeyarwady has faced some of the nation’s heaviest recruitment efforts, even before junta leader Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing announced on Feb. 10 plans to enforce the People’s Military Service Law. 

Junta troops demanded 10 recruits per village in January, threatening to burn down houses if their quota was not met. 

Relying on surrendered resistance fighters and retired military personnel, troops also attempted to bolster numbers in December.

Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Mike Firn.