Two Ta’ang Party Leaders Reportedly Abducted in Shan State Now Free

By Moe Myint 23 July 2015

RANGOON — The president of a local branch of the Ta’ang National Party who was reported missing more than a month ago was reunited with colleagues in Shan State’s Mongkaung Township on Thursday, released by an ethnic armed group accused of involvement in his disappearance, according to the party’s chairman.

Ta’ang National Party (TNP) Mongkaung branch office president Mai Aung Khan was released by the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) early on Thursday morning, according to TNP chairman Aik Mone.

On June 20, Mai Aung Khan and branch secretary Mai Kyam Sar were reported missing, with party officials and Mongkaung locals accusing the RCSS of abducting the two men.

Mai Kyam Sar was freed on July 12.

The party’s joint-secretary Mai Win Htoo confirmed that Mai Aung Khan was now back in Mongkaung but declined to give further details about his alleged abduction and detention, citing the security of the officials’ families.

The Irrawaddy attempted to contact the two freed party leaders on Thursday without success.

Shortly after the alleged abduction last month, a senior member of the TNP’s Mongkaung branch, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Irrawaddy that the RCSS was suspected because the party had received threatening letters from the Shan armed group.

“This is the territory of the RCSS, there is no need for a political party here,” the committee member quoted one of the letters as saying. “If you won’t accept that, something unexpected will happen soon.”

When previously contacted by The Irrawaddy, RCSS spokesperson Col. Sai La refused to confirm whether members of the armed group were involved in the two men’s disappearance.

TNP is a member of the Nationalities Brotherhood Federation (NBF), a coalition of 23 ethnic political parties that plans to field candidates in around 150 constituencies in the coming general election.

NBF spokesperson Saw Than Myint told The Irrawaddy on Thursday that areas of southern Shan State like Mongkaung, Mongshu and Kyethi townships lacked rule of law.

“Not only the TNP but also parties like the SNDP [Shan Nationalities Democratic Party] have faced this kind of unlawful obstruction,” he said.

The Ta’ang National Party contested Burma’s 2010 general election, winning a total of six seats; four in the Shan State legislature and one in both the Upper and Lower houses of the Union Parliament.