The Warazup People’s Militia Force (Warazup PMF) has abducted civilians and ransomed them for money before releasing them, according to reports from local people. The Militia is based in Warazup village on the Lido road in Kachin State’s Hpakant Township. The Warazup PMF is led by U Min Zin Thant.
The Warazup PMF has accused local people of having links to the Kachin Independence Army and arrested them. People detained by the Warazup PMF have come from Jahtuzup, Warazup, Awng Ra, and San Pya villages in Hpakant Township.
Speaking to KNG on condition of anonymity for security reasons, a local man from Jahtuzup village said that the Warazup PMF has abducted at least 10 people since March. The Warazup PMF has demanded different amounts of money to release people. The amounts demanded by the Warazup PMF have ranged from 300,000 Kyat to two million Kyat.
“They demand different amounts of money to release different detainees. They have recently demanded 300,000 Kyat to two million Kyat. They also beat some detainees. If a person confesses that he is a member of the KIA, then the PMF demands about two million Kyat for their release,” the Jahtuzup village resident told KNG.
The Warazup PMF typically detains people for about two weeks at their camp. Detainees are often beaten by Warazup PMF soldiers during interrogations.
Local people suggest that the Warazup PMF is mainly interested in making money. The Warazup PMF arrested three people from San Pya village in early 2023 but they were released after money was paid to the PMF.
“They go to arrest KIA members in their homes when they get information about them. Some KIA members have been arrested unexpectedly at checkpoints. Even though the Warazup PMF arrests KIA members, they will release the KIA members after receiving money. In my opinion, this is a money making scheme,” another local man told KNG.
A local man who lives nearby an IDP camp said that the Warazup PMF arrested a male IDP from the San Pya IDP camp in January but then released him after taking two million Kyat for his release.
Local people reported that in 2022 the Warazup PMF has killed some people during interrogations, but KNG could not independently verify this information.