Myanmar Junta Releases Detained Rakhine Charity Leader

By The Irrawaddy 25 May 2023

Myanmar’s military regime released Rakhine writer-turned-charity leader Wai Hun Aung and four other people on Wednesday afternoon, after they were detained while delivering aid to victims of Cyclone Mocha in western Myanmar’s Rakhine State.

The junta arrested Wai Hun Aung, his daughter, a staff member, and two other people from Yangon accompanying them on Tuesday evening, while they were traveling from the Rakhine capital Sittwe to Ponnagyun Township to deliver relief supplies to storm-affected communities.

His charity is one of a number of local rescue teams carrying out humanitarian assistance in storm-hit areas in Rakhine.

After a day-long interrogation, Wai Hun Aung and the other four were released on

Wednesday afternoon, according to a source close to the family.

Rakhine media outlets reported that Wai Hun Aung’s daughter and the staff member were released on Wednesday morning, with Wai Hun Aung and the other two released in the afternoon.

Regime spokesperson Major General Zaw Min Tun told Voice of America and BBC Burmese on Wednesday that they detained the five for examination, and that the two people from Yangon were found to have connections with news outlets the junta regards as illegal and needed further interrogation.

Wai Hun Aung’s detention while carrying out relief work and speaking to the media has been criticized as a threat to aid workers and volunteer groups working in Rakhine State.

Cyclone Mocha wreaked havoc in northern Rakhine State when it made landfall on May 14.

More than one week on, official relief operations have done little to help affected areas, while international aid agencies are still waiting for the regime’s approval to deliver relief supplies.