In a border town, activist Aung Nay Myo, 43, who fled there from the northwestern region of Sagaing, said his parents and siblings were taken from his home by junta troops in mid-December and he does not know where. They were.
He believes they were arrested for their work as a satirist. Among them is his 74-year-old father, who was disabled by a stroke.
“There is nothing I can do but worry every moment,” said Aung Nay Myo.
Two police stations in the city of Monywa, his hometown in the Sagaing region, did not return phone calls seeking comment.
In some areas, resistance to the junta has turned into conflict, with fighting displacing tens of thousands of people across the country, according to the UN. Thousands have fled across the borders into Thailand and India.
In the northeastern state of Kayah, where fighting has been fierce, Banyar Khun Naung, director of the nonprofit Karenni Human Rights Group, said at least 50 people were missing.
The group is trying to help families search by asking newly released prisoners for names they remember.
“The families of the disappeared are in great pain, especially mentally, as it is exhausting not knowing where their loved ones are,” he said.
Myint Aung, in her 50s and now living in a camp for internally displaced people in Kayah, said her 17-year-old son Pascalal went missing in September.
The teenager told his father he would travel to his home in the state capital, Loikaw, to check on the situation, but he never returned, Myint Aung said.
Instead, he was detained by security forces, Myint Aung told Reuters by telephone, saying he was told so by local villagers. When he visited the station to deliver food, he found soldiers guarding the area and ran away.
Since then, Myint Aung has not heard from her son, but the human rights group told her he was no longer at the police station, citing conversations with several recently released people. Reuters was unable to independently verify this information.
Banyar Khun Naung, the director of the Karenni rights group, said the teenager was one of two youths photographed giving the “Hunger Games” salute adopted by protesters when they were detained kneeling on the side of a road, tied together with a rope for a soldier. , in an image widely spread on social networks. His sister confirmed by phone that it was Pascalal.
The photo appeared in a viral post from an account that appeared to belong to a high-ranking soldier, with the caption: “While we let them do what they want before we put bullets in their heads.”
The account was later deleted and Reuters was unable to reach its owner for comment.
“He is an underage civilian child and he did nothing wrong,” said his father, Myint Aung.
Loikaw police did not respond to Reuters phone calls seeking comment.
In Yangon, Wai Soe Hlaing’s family tells their four-year-old daughter that her father is working somewhere far away.
Sometimes, Win Hlaing said, she mutters about him, “My dad has been gone too long.”