SITTWE, Rakhine State—A member of the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) party from Rakhine State’s Ramree Island was abducted by unidentified gunmen on Saturday evening.
U Zeyar Min, executive committee member and treasurer for the Ramree Township NLD, was on his way home from his sawmill when he was abducted by eight armed people at about 6 p.m. on Feb. 8, according to U Khin Yee, the secretary of the Ramree Township NLD.
U Zeyar Min runs a sawmill between Kyauksauk Village and Kalarpone Village about 10 miles from Ramree and he was heading home together with one of his cousins when the kidnapping occurred.
“The armed group left his cousin. As they had arms in this area, they could be either members of the Arakan Army (AA) or government troops,” said U Khin Yee.
Leaders of the township NLD had been threatened via phone calls and on Facebook for organizing a rally to support State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on Dec. 4 as she traveled to defend against charges of alleged genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), according to U Khin Yee.
AA spokesman U Khaing Thukha denied that members of his group abducted U Zeyar Min.
“We did not abduct Ko Zeyar Min. I have already asked our troops about it. I do not know whether he was abducted by government troops or other people who had problems with him,” U Khaing Thukha said.
The NLD official’s family members reported the abduction to the police and Ramree Police Station has opened a case under Section 50 (a) and (b) and Section 54 of the Counter-terrorism Law for the abduction and is investigating the scene of the crime, according to police Sergeant Soe Naing.
“A team led by the head of our police station has launched a field investigation at the scene,” Sgt. Soe Naing told The Irrawaddy.
The AA abducted an NLD Upper House parliamentarian from Chin State’s Paletwa Township, U Whei Tin, on Nov. 3 over allegations that he was providing intelligence to the Myanmar military, or Tatmadaw. The AA released him on Jan. 21.
The AA also detained U Ye Thein, the chairman of the NLD in Buthidaung Township, northern Rakhine State, on Dec. 11 and the armed group said on Dec. 25 that the detained NLD Buthidaung Township chief had died after being hit by a heavy weapon round fired by the Tatmadaw, an accusation that the Tatmadaw denied.
U Ye Thein was abducted by the AA just before a rally supporting Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s defense at the ICJ that was organized by NLD members in Buthidaung Township.
After U Ye Thein’s death, the Tatmadaw told The Irrawaddy that there was no fighting in Buthidaung Township on the day he was killed.
According to a statement released by the AA, heavy weapon rounds fired from Buthidaung-based Operation Headquarters (15) at 9 a.m. on Dec. 25 killed multiple people, including the NLD township chairman, and injured others.
Translated from Burmese by Myint Win Thein
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