Pro-military "Blood Brothers" launch Mandalay killing spree

Pro-military "Blood Brothers" launch Mandalay killing spree

The owner of Mandalay’s Sein Win Win tea shop, Khin Maung Thein, was found dead in front of the NLD’s Chan Aye Tar Zan township office on Monday morning, according to local sources. The man’s wife was also seriously wounded.

The incident is just one in a string of killings recently carried out by newly-formed pro-military militias in the town.

A source close to the tea shop owner’s family said that three people, including the victims, were abducted by military-affiliated militias on the night of April 24.

“They were arrested yesterday and killed today. His body was then dumped on the side of the road. It is said that Daw Kha [his wife] is also dead. We do not know what exactly happened,” the family friend said.

The body of Khin Maung Thein was discovered with a stab wound and gunshot wound to the back of the head. The corpse had been dressed with the logo of a pro-military militia group named “Blood Brothers” around his neck.

According to the Rise News outlet, the shop owner was said to be an NLD member and staunch supporter of the party. The victims are said to have been dumped from a police car on Sunday night.

Khin Maung Thein’s brother, who was abducted alongside the couple, was discovered dead with gunshot wounds near to a low-income housing project on River Road at around 10 p.m. on Sunday night. The deceased was wearing a similar badge around the neck.

The bodies of an unidentified man and woman were found near Mandalay Hill in similar circumstances on Tuesday morning, with each victim bearing gunshot wounds to the neck, the Mandalay Free Press (MFP) reported, using information obtained from pro-junta social media channels.

The Blood Brothers militia announced on April 21 that it aimed to kill NLD members and individuals affiliated to  PDF factions as part of its “Red Operation” — launched, the group claimed, in retaliation against resistance groups threatening the military and its supporters.

MFP claimed that at least five civilians have been killed by the group in central Mandalay over the past five days — and that all had been discovered adorned with Blood Brothers’ logo.

The formation of similar militias have been reported across the country in the months following the military’s announcement that it was to arm civilian groups.