An activist who rose to prominence during Myanmar’s 1988 student uprising has been arrested in an overnight raid, in the latest blow to those fighting against the February 1 military coup.
Kyaw Min Yu, better known as Ko Jimmy, was arrested by soldiers who stormed a housing complex in the North Dagon township of Yangon on Sunday.
“He was staying in a safe house together with two other activists who escaped from the back door,” his wife Nilar Thein told the AFP news agency.
She said the police had not informed her of his whereabouts.
The 52-year-old and his wife are part of the so-called 88 Generation, people who took part in a series of student-led protests that challenged a previous military regime.
They have been in and out of jail for playing a key role in anti-government protests in 2007, nicknamed the Saffron Revolution for the participation of orange-robed monks.
Ko Jimmy’s last stint behind bars was from 2007 to 2012. He was released as the generals loosened their decades-long stranglehold on the country.
The military issued an arrest warrant for him after the February coup, which removed democratically elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi from power and triggered protests and a mass movement of civil disobedience.
The generals accused Ko Jimmy of inciting unrest with his social media posts. His wife said the situation is “riskier” under the current regime, which has dubbed itself the State Administration Council.
“I am afraid that I won’t see him alive” again, she said, adding, she was afraid to go to the police for fear of her own arrest.
“I urge the international community to keep their eyes [on the situation] to save the lives of Myanmar people.”
Another 88 Generation member, Ko Ko Gyi, confirmed Ko Jimmy’s arrest, expressing concern for him and his family.
Groups, including the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, which tracks arrests under the regime, have alleged that torture has taken place during the interrogation of dissidents.
Tom Andrews, the United Nations special rapporteur on Myanmar, on Friday raised alarm about troops massing in the country’s north, warning the international community to be prepared for “more mass atrocity crimes”.
“We should all be prepared, as the people in this part of Myanmar are prepared, for even more mass atrocity crimes. I desperately hope that I am wrong,” he said.