Abducted Karenni Journalist Regains Consciousness

By Nyein Nyein & Zue Zue 1 June 2017

RANGOON – An ethnic Karenni journalist who was abducted last Friday remains in the hospital and has not yet spoken about what happened to her on that day.

Maw Oo Myar is a full-time reporter at the Kantarawaddy Times in the Karenni State capital of Loikaw and a presenter for the Democratic Voice of Burma’s weekly Karenni language TV program. In the early evening of May 26, she was stopped by two men in a car as she drove a motorbike with a colleague on the Demoso –Loikaw road, who reportedly forced her into the vehicle and drove off.

Around one mile down the road, the car was found to have crashed, and both the men and Maw Oo Myar were found unconscious. Her colleagues brought her to the Demoso hospital at 5:30 p.m. on May 26, where she was then transferred to Loikaw general hospital later that evening.

One of the men was identified as U Sein Win, and the name of the other individual has not yet been released. They were detained and are being questioned, the police said. U Sein Win is not a lawmaker but is a member of a Karenni State parliamentary committee and was reportedly acquainted with the victim.

“She is conscious now, but she still cannot speak well, and she seems afraid of seeing the strangers, but there are no external injuries,” said Maw Oo Myar’s colleague from the Kantarawaddy Times, who spoke to The Irrawaddy on the condition of anonymity.

The news about the incident first appeared when the Kantarawaddy Times announced it on its Facebook on Sunday, informing the public that the reporter was still unconscious at the time.

Police have accepted a complaint filed by Maw Oo Myar’s family, of reckless driving and forced abduction, but are “still waiting for the medical report so that the case can be filed before the court,” according to the Demoso police.

Byar Reh, the police second lieutenant from Demoso Myoma police station said that although the reporter is now conscious, she cannot yet articulate what happened.

“Therefore, we could not get her statement. Only after she gives her statement can we proceed,” Byar Reh told The Irrawaddy.

Kayah Htae, an editor at Kantarawaddy Times, told The Irrawaddy that she found it “despicable” that Maw Myar Oo was put in this situation.

“We want the case to be tackled without any prejudice,” she said.

Maw Oo Myar covers a range of news about Karenni State’s peace process, parliamentary news, politics, women’s issue, land, business and public health. These stories are published twice a month in the Kantarawaddy Times journal.