Soldiers detain relatives of 79-year-old former NLD chief minister who took up arms against the junta

August 31st, 2021  •  Author:   Mahn Johnny (Kyonpyaw Township)  •  3 minute read
Featured image

Mahn Johnny (front right) talks with Aung San Suu Kyi in 2019 (Mahn Johnny’s Facebook page)

Junta focus raided Mahn Johnny’s home after a photo of him posing with a large rifle was published on Facebook

By Myanmar Now

Soldiers raided the home of former National League for Democracy (NLD) regional chief minister Mahn Johnny on Sunday and detained his relatives after a Facebook page released a photo of him holding a large rifle and wearing military fatigues.

The 79-year-old, who has announced he will fight against the junta after receiving training in a rebel-held area of Karen State, told Myanmar Now last week that the February 1 military coup was a “heinous crime” that must be combatted.

A group of around 20 soldiers from the 36th Light Infantry Battalion arrived at his home in Kyonpyaw, Ayeyarwady Region on Sunday afternoon accompanied by police and village informants. ​​

They briefly detained his son at a police station and have told his family they are not allowed to leave their home. They also confiscated three mobile phones and a car, a woman close to the family told Myanmar Now.

“His family and friends here are worried,” she said. “The military warned all the family members not to go anywhere and to report to them if they need to go somewhere.”

Soldiers also raided the local Nazareth Catholic Church near his home on the same evening, a man who lives in Kyonpyaw said.

Locals said that five of Mahn Johnny’s relatives live in the house; two sons, two daughters-in-law and a grandchild.

Tun Shwe, a deputy police chief in Ayeyarwady, said his force was unaware of Sunday’s incident.

Security in Kyonpyaw has been tightened over the past two days, with soldiers manning checkpoints around the town, the Kyonpyaw resident said.

“They are doing security checks in the middle of the town and also at the town’s exit,” he said. “We have never experienced anything like this before.”

Mahn Johnny represented the NLD in the general elections of 1990, 2015 and 2020, as well as in the 2012 by-elections – he won his seat on all four occasions.

He served as the chief minister of Ayeyarwady Region for three years until 2018, when he resigned for health reasons.

On Saturday he told Myanmar Now that he had decided to take up arms against the military dictatorship. “We will win once the people unite,” he said. “This is the endgame.”

Original Post: Myanmar Now