(Paletwa Township, Chin State – 4 August 2020)
On 29 July 2020, the Arakan Army (AA) arrested four Chin youths on suspected ties to the Chin National League for Democracy (CNLD). Salai Aung Tun Ko, Salai Khin Maung Tun, Salai Benjamin and Salai Aung Soe were arrested as they travelled between Kyuaktaw, Rakhine State and Paletwa Town, Chin State after their boat was followed and stopped outside Bedon village in Paletwa Township:
“We stopped for lunch at Nga Thar Shar village in Rakhine State. After we continued our journey from Nga Thar Shar, we were followed by another boat and we were stopped when we got to Bedon village. The seven members [soldiers] of the AA asked whether Salai Aung Soe was in the boat and they took the three others, Salai Khin Maung Tun, Salai Aung Tun Ko and Salai Benjamin saying that they had some questions for the four people from Paletwa,” said an eye-witness who agreed to speak to CHRO.
During the arrest, the four youths were only permitted to take with them one set of clothes from their bags and were requested to bring their phones and what money they had. The three remaining boat passengers were told to leave the scene and continue their journey.
Sources informed CHRO that village headmen and elders of Bedon and nearby Yedagun village visited the AA’s temporary camp, where the group is currently held, on 30 July in order to inquire on the situation. They were informed by the camp head that Salai Aung Soe was detained due to his membership of the CNLD Organizing Committee and that the other three still needed to be questioned. The AA representative also informed the party that a woman from Paletwa Town was next to be detained for questioning:
“A woman living in the Yeik Khar Ward from Paletwa has yet to be arrested by the AA. The Yedagun village administration has estimated that the four detainees could be detained for as long as Upper House MP, U Hawi Tin,” said another source.
To date, there has been no official government response to the abductions. According to a statement from the Chin Internally Displaced People Support Committee (CISC), a total of 20 people are missing in Paletwa Township due to fighting between the Burmese Army and the Arakan Army (AA).
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