At least 10 civilians who have disappeared in southern Chin State’s conflict-hit Paletwa Township over the past year are still missing, according to the Khumi Affairs Counselling Committee (KACC).
In a statement released on August 30, the group said that there have been no breakthroughs in efforts to find information about the missing persons.
“We cannot communicate with these 10 people. They all disappeared at different times. They are innocent civilians, and we call for their release,” KACC coordinator Saw Mya told Khonumthung News.
“They are not related to military affairs. Their families want to know if they are still alive. Nobody has received any recent information about them. Some of them have been missing for nearly a year,” he added.
Among the missing are U Kho Lo, aged 60, his niece Ai Benjamin, 14, and Aik Kyaw Naing, 15, who disappeared while collecting wild vegetables in the jungle near Paletwa’s Yap Chaung area in October 2018.
The KACC said it had no information about who was responsible for their disappearance.
Paletwa has been one of the main conflict zones in the Burma Army’s offensive against the insurgent Arakan Army (AA), which is known to have abducted local civilians on a number of occasions.
On June 14 of this year, 58-year-old Kyaw Aye of Than Tawng, a village in Paletwa’s Lay Myo area, was arrested by AA forces near Moe Ywar Thit village as he was returning to Lay Myo from Mrauk-U in Rakhine State by boat.
Another resident of Than Tawng, 20-year-old Maung Bu Kui, was also taken into custody by AA forces on August 9 near the village of Moe Ywar Thit as he was returning from Mrauk-U, where he had bought cement and sheets of galvanized iron.
On July 16, four residents of the village of Bawngwa—Ai Kyaw Lin Naing, 23, Aik Kyaw Sein, 31, Ai Kyaw Kyaw Than, 28, and Ai Kyaw Lin, 25—disappeared while working as taxi drivers at a bridge construction site on the Kaladan River. They were arrested by an unspecified armed organization.
U Sa Beaung, 42, was also arrested by an unspecified armed organization on August 10 as he was traveling to the village of Namadar.
In its statement, the KACC called for the release of all detained Chin civilians and urged the authorities to help reunite the missing persons with their families.
Khonumthung News repeatedly called AA spokesperson Khine Thukha for comment, but did not receive a reply.
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FACEBOOK: “They are not related to military affairs. Their families want to know if they are still alive,” said KACC coordinator Saw Mya about the missing individuals.
TWITTER: It was unclear in some cases who was responsible for the disappearance of the #missing #civilians in #Paletwa. #ChinState #Burma #Myanmar