11/22/22, 4:37 PM Pro-military death squad rallies openly on social media | Frontier Myanmar ISSUES SIGN UP NOW Military supporters attack an anti-coup protester during a demonstration in February 2021. (AFP) Pro-military death squad rallies openly on social media JUNE 2, 2022    The emergence of a vigilante hit group targeting regime opponents has once again demonstrated the failure of social media companies – in this case Facebook and Telegram – to remove dangerous actors. By FRONTIER After tea shop owner U Khin Maung Thein was abducted and killed in April, pictures of his body were uploaded to the social media platform Telegram. Hanging around his neck, over his bloodstained shirt, was a lanyard with a strange symbol: a red circle with an image of an ancient Burmese warrior holding two swords. This is the calling card of Thwe Thauk Apwe, a new pro-military vigilante group whose violent rise has played out over social media, particularly Facebook and Telegram. The group, whose name literally translates to “blood drinkers” but seems to more figuratively align with the English term “blood-brothers”, has been accused of attacking and killing members of the National League for Democracy and the People’s Defence Forces, as well as their relatives. On May 10, the NLD said 14 of its members and supporters had been killed by Thwe Thauk Apwe or similar groups in just two weeks, and the killings have only continued since then. While Mandalay has been the epicentre, murders have also been reported in Yangon, Nay Pyi Taw and Tanintharyi. https://www.frontiermyanmar.net/en/pro-military-death-squad-rallies-openly-on-social-media/ 1/9

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