Four slain by pro-junta group in Myanmar's Mandalay

Killings by the shadowy 'Blood Comrades' group may be linked to the country's military, sources say.
By RFA Burmese
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Four slain by pro-junta group in Myanmar's Mandalay Myanmar's central city of Mandalay is shown in an undated photo.

Four men were found slain in Myanmar’s central city of Mandalay on Sunday in what appears to be the latest in a series of killings by a shadowy pro-junta militia group, sources in the country told RFA.

The victims, all over 30 years old, were found next to cards bearing the logo of the Thway Thauk or “Blood Comrades” group believed responsible for the deaths since April of at least 20 opponents of military rule.

All of the four killed at the weekend were found with their throats cut, a member of a local social assistance group told RFA on Monday.

“Three of the bodies were found near the Tadarbyu Bridge on the Sagaing-Mandalay road,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity for security reasons. “The other body was found in front of the Pan Taw Oo Hotel in Chan Mya Thazi township.”

“I don’t know who the victims are. Their bodies have been taken to a hospital,” he added.

RFA was unable to independently confirm reports of the killings, and calls seeking comment from a junta spokesman and from Thein Htay, Minister of Economy for the Mandalay Regional Government, rang unanswered on Monday.

On April 21, a statement posted on the Telegram social media network by the Thway Thauk Group in Mandalay said it was targeting for assassination members of the National League for Democracy (NLD), fighters with the anti-junta People’s Defense Force paramilitary group, and other opponents of military rule in Myanmar.

Mandalay residents say that at least 20 people have since been killed by the shadowy group, which is believed linked to Myanmar’s military, which overthrew civilian rule in the country in a Feb. 1, 2021 coup.

The group has also threatened reporters and editors working for news outlets in Myanmar including The Irrawaddy, Mizzima, Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), and The Irrawaddy Times, as well as their family members.

Tha Lun Zaung Htet, a media editor named in Thway Thauk’s list, told RFA in an earlier report that he believes the group is acting on the orders of authorities, despite junta claims to the contrary.

“This group is surely linked to the military because the victims were taken away by police or military vehicles, and the bodies were later dropped by those same vehicles,” he said, adding that he is in possession of “photos taken by witnesses.”

Photos obtained by RFA show leaflets or cards bearing the group’s logo, the same logo seen on the social media accounts of junta supporters, of crossed swords over the image of a man from Myanmar’s royal era left near the bodies of eight NLD members and supporters killed in late April.

Translated by Khin Maung Nyane for RFA Burmese. Written in English by Richard Finney.


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