Burma

Arakan Army Blamed After Myanmar Village Chief Found Dead

By Lei Lei 22 July 2020

Yangon — A village head from Chin State’s Paletwa Township was found dead last Friday after he was abducted more than one month ago by the Arakan Army (AA), said Khumi Affairs Coordination Council (KACC) on Monday.

U Hla Kyaw, the head of Tone Ma Wa Village, was last seen on June 5 by his relatives when he left his village to buy rice. The village is surrounded by forest on the western bank of the Kaladan River and lies close to Kyauktaw Township in Rakhine State.

His body was found in a valley, which is around a day’s walk from Tone Ma Wa. “His body was found on July 17. We identified it on July 19.  As the body was disfigured, his elder brother identified it by looking at the clothes, body shape and face,” a relative told The Irrawaddy.

The KACC blamed the AA for U Hla Kyaw’s death. The KACC tried everything to secure the release of U Hla Kyaw, said KACC secretary U Saw Mya.

U Hla Kyaw / Salai Issac Khin / Facebook

“We can only report the disappearances of civilians. It is difficult for us to intervene. We can only report it to the authorities and security organizations. Lawmakers can also do nothing,” said U Saw Mya.

The Irrawaddy was unable to obtain a comment from the AA as Myanmar’s government and military have declared the ethnic armed group to be a terrorist organization.

Myanmar’s military and the AA have been engaged in serious fighting since the latter tried to establish its base in Rakhine State. Clashes broke out in late 2018 in Paletwa as the AA tried to enter Rakhine via Paletwa, which borders Rakhine’s Kyauktaw Township.

Residents reported that both Myanmar’s military and the AA have detained civilians for interrogation on suspicion of having ties to the other side.

According to Chin human rights organizations, around 20 civilians went missing between January 2019 and June 2020.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko

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