Armed Group in Myanmar’s Shan State Will Release Detained Police Officers

By Lawi Weng 1 October 2019

The Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) has said that four Myanmar police officers detained by the ethnic armed group in Kutkai Township, northern Shan State, will be released soon.

Four police officers from Mong Si Village were detained by the TNLA on Sept. 29 while traveling to Namhsan Town, according to Mong Si Village head administrator Daw Htu San.

The village head told The Irrawaddy Tuesday that local authorities were trying to negotiate with the TNLA for the four officers’ release.

TNLA Brigadier General Tar Phone Kyaw told The Irrawaddy on Tuesday that the four officers were detained after they demanded taxes from local people in Kutkai Township. He said the four police officers would stand on a bridge and “ask for taxes” from people who were traveling.

“We are working to release the police officers. We will release them soon,” Brig-Gen Tar Phone Kyaw said.

The four police officers used the TNLA’s name when asking local people for taxes, according to TNLA spokesperson Major Tar Aike Kyaw, so the TNLA arrested them.

“The four police wore civilian clothes,” said Maj. Tar Aike Kyaw. “We heard about it from locals, then our troops went to arrest them. We found a grenade on them, and a list of people they had asked for taxes.”

The major said he didn’t yet know any details about the plans to release the police officers. He added that, according to procedure, if they are found to have violated the law, they will be punished and the TNLA will imprison them in a jail in the jungle.

Kutkai Township is an active conflict area where fighting has broken out repeatedly between the TNLA and the Myanmar army in recent months despite peace negotiations between ethnic armed groups and the Myanmar government.

Mong Si Village is located in an area near the Chinese border where many ethnic armed groups are active, including the TNLA, the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA).

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