Some members of Zarmani Revolution Force arrested in Myaung Township, Sagaing Division died

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – June 11 Scenes

MoeMaKa, June 12, 2023

Some members of Zarmani Revolution Force arrested in Myaung Township, Sagaing Division died

In Myaung Township, Sagaing Division, which is well known as an area where PDF armed forces are strong and military council troops are unable to control, an incident in which 4 people, including the leader of the Zarmani Revolutionary Force, who were arrested by the People’s Security Force, in short, PaLaFa, under the National Unity Government, reportedly died during interrogation recently. A PDF battalion commander in Sagaing District, Sagaing Division, has issued a statement demanding action by the National Unity Government.

It is understood that the request was made to the NUG government as the PaLaFa under the NUG was responsible for that incident, in which a total of 4 people—leader Ko Zaw Moe and a comrade from Zarmani Revolution Force (MMU/Myaung) based in Myaung, a leader of the village People’s Defense Organization and a civilian—were arrested by Myaung Township People’s Security Force (PaLaFa) on June 1 and reportedly dead 10 days after the arrest.

Incidents of arrests and killings of individuals among the forces that are fighting against the coup military, commonly known as PDF, or killing of civilians by them, have been happening frequently, and some of them have been disclosed to the news media. This incident is the latest incident, and before this incident, at the end of 2021, there were sporadic cases such as the incident of Bo Thanmani (previously known as Thapyay Aye Sayadaw), which occurred in the region around Yinmarbin and Ayadaw regions in Sagaing Division at the end of 2021, the incident of Yaw PDF killing 6 people, including a family and its guests, and taking away a car and cash in Saw Township, etc. There was also an incident late last year where a group called PDSA, a Muse PDF, from Muse in northern Shan State shot dead those who had left their group.

Questions have arisen about how action was taken in previous incidents, how to find solutions to prevent future incidents, which rules and regulations should be established, etc. There may be a question as to whether they are under a single command system in order to keep them under the rules and regulations.

It is still not clear how the action was finally taken regarding the case of Bo Thanmani in Yinmarbin Township, which was the first case to appear at the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022. As far as what was reported in the news media, it seems that Bo Thanmani (formerly Thapyay Aye Sayadaw Van. Sopaka) was not directly responsible, and said that one of the group’s breakaways, U San Kyaw Lin, was the responsible one. According to some reports, U Aung Myat Thu, one of the persons in charge of the Bo Thanmani group, is the son-in-law of CRPH Chairman U Aung Kyi Nyunt, so some people may think that the incident could not be effectively dealt with. After that incident, there had been similar arrests and killings by anti-military council forces, as well as killings of civilians in 2022.

In the case that happened in Saw, there was also evidence that other local armed forces, administrative organizations, and PDF forces of anti-military council forces condemned the act of the YDF. However, there was no further information on how action was taken against the YDF or whether or not the YDF has given an explanation regarding the incident.

Similarly, in a village in Chaung-U Township, Sagaing Division, a total of 7 youths, including 5 boys and 2 girls underage who were not native to that village, were arrested and interrogated for suspicions while they were collecting plastic. Then they were raped and killed in August last year. In that case, it was reported that the People’s Defense Organization (PaKaFa) was involved, and the NUG had conducted an investigation, but no news has been heard about how the final action was taken.

Among the above incidents, regarding the Muse case, in which those who left the group were shot dead by the PDSA group, the perpetrators were reportedly punished with up to 20 years in prison. As for the other incidents and crimes, we have not heard of any punishment actions. It is necessary to urgently reassess the reason for not being able to take action to punish the perpetrators.

There may arise practical problems or questions, such as, “Are there no guidelines to be applied among organizations, although there is a code of conduct? Can’t they establish clear rules and regulations? Is it because all forces are not under a single command system? Is it because of the worry of losing support by the armed forces if punitive measures are taken? Or is it because there are no effective legal procedures and punishment mechanisms?

It is urgently needed to solve the above questions as soon as possible and take practical measures to prevent similar incidents from happening again.