Burma

Arakan Army Releases Myanmar MP Held Since November

By Zarni Mann 21 January 2020

MANDALAY – The Arakan Army (AA) released U Whei Tin, the detained National League for Democracy (NLD) parliamentarian, on Tuesday in Paletwa Township, Chin State, western Myanmar, after detaining him for 79 days.

His family members met U Whei Tin and were on their way home with him.

“Five relatives met him at Pwi Wone Village on the border between Kyauktaw and Paletwa townships and now they are on their way home to Paletwa. They will arrive in Paletwa late this evening. We are happy that he is safe and healthy,” said U Soe Htet, the Chin State municipal minister.

The AA said U Whei Tin was released to ensure a sustainable relationship between the Rakhine and Khumi communities and to rebuild trust and friendship. On Jan. 10, the AA insisted on keeping him in detention, saying the group had security concerns if he was released.

“The Rakhine and Khumi are like brothers, living in harmony with understanding and trust. We want to rebuild trust and friendship between the two communities, and reconciliation in the long term, so we decided to release U Whei Tin at a safe place in Paletwa on Jan. 21,” said the AA’s statement.

U Whei Tin, the Upper House parliamentarian for Paletwa in Chin State, was abducted on Nov. 3. He was on his way to the Parliament in Naypyitaw and traveling to Kyauktaw in Rakhine State from Paletwa by boat. 

Nine civilians, including five Indian citizens working on the Kaladan transport project, were also abducted.

One of the Indians died while held by the AA. The AA released the four surviving Indians, two translators and two members of the boat crew, along with the Indian man’s body, on Nov. 4.

After the abduction, the AA said U Whei Tin was being questioned over allegations that he was providing the army with intelligence.

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