AA Abducts Village Official, Police Station Chief in Chin State

By Min Aung Khine 22 February 2019

SITTWE—The Arakan Army (AA) abducted the village administrator and the head of the police station in Than Taung village in Chin State’s Paletwa Township at around 3 am on Friday, according to local villagers.

AA troops first brought village administrator U Cha Haw to the front of the village police station. They asked the station chief, Police Lieutenant Salai Bieber, to come out and demanded weapons from him.

When Pol. Lt. Salai Bieber refused, the AA abducted him along with the village administrator, local resident U Nai Htan told The Irrawaddy.

No shots were fired during the abduction, local residents said. However, at around 8 am police returned fire after hearing shots from the opposite bank of the creek on which the village is located, they said. More gunfire was heard from the same location at around noon.

No one was injured in the incident, but many villagers fled out of fear for their safety, they said.

Another villager, U Lwin Ai, told The Irrawaddy, “They [the AA] didn’t enter the police station. From outside, they told the station chief to come out, and then they abducted him. We heard gunshots from the opposite bank of the creek. We don’t know if it was a clash or just warning shots.”

Paletwa Township police chief Police Major Tun Tun Win said only, “I can’t provide details. We are still working on it,” he told The Irrawaddy.

AA information officer U Khaing Thukha said he did not have any details about the abduction in Than Taung, but acknowledged that local AA commanders occasionally reprimand those who get in the way of implementing “The Way of Rakhita”, a phrase coined by the political wing of the AA, the United League for Arakan, to refer to their Arakanese nationalist movement.

“I still don’t have information about the incident. But there may be cases in which local commanders rebuke those who get in the way of ‘The Way of Rakhita,’” he told The Irrawaddy.

Than Taung police station was on full alert, local residents told The Irrawaddy at noon on Friday.

In December, the AA sent warning letters, each accompanied by a bullet and the official AA stamp, warning the recipients against disturbing those who are “implementing the Way of Rakhita.”

One letter sent to the head of a local police station in Buthidaung Township warned that the AA would take decisive action against anyone who disrupted their movements.