Myanmar’s regime has abducted at least 20 residents in the historic town of Mrauk-U in Rakhine State after the Arakan Army (AA) seized the staff at a military security office.
AA members abducted three security officers who were eating at a restaurant owned by the office chief’s daughter in Nyaungbin Zay ward, according to Mrauk-U residents.
“The sergeant in charge of the office was also detained. It has only four members of staff,” said a resident, who asked for anonymity. Until recently Mrauk-U was one of Myanmar’s most prized tourist attractions.
On Wednesday, junta troops carried out checks in Mrauk-U and made arrests. The regime had detained around 20 residents by noon. Troops were deployed at the town’s entrances and on surrounding hills.
Another Mrauk-U resident told The Irrawaddy: “Mainly they checked phones and detained anyone if they found anything political. They are patrolling around the town and making arrests. I heard some of the detainees are children and teachers.”
Military tensions are rising as the regime and AA seize each other’s members.
In Kyauktaw the AA abducted three policemen on Monday evening. The following day, junta troops searched houses and detained political activist Ko Zaw Win. His whereabouts are currently unknown.
The numbers of those in custody are unknown.
On June 11, the AA abducted two junta soldiers from a military checkpoint near Kisspanadi bridge in Kyauktaw. It also detained a Light Infantry Battalion 550 soldier in Ponnagyun on June 16.
The regime has since detained seven civilians in Ponnagyun and their whereabouts are unknown.
The AA detained a police sergeant from Tein Nyo village in Mrauk-U on June 17. The ethnic armed group has detained 11 junta personnel, including seven soldiers and four police officers, since June 11.
At a June 14 press conference, AA spokesman Khaing Thukha said the group has abducted junta soldiers in response to regime detentions of its members. He did not say how many AA members have been abducted.
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