Abducted King-talin Villagers Arrive in Meezar

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Thirty-nine villagers from southern Chin State’s Paletwa Township who were released earlier this week after nearly six months in Arakan Army (AA) custody have arrived in Meezar, a village in Paletwa that is currently sheltering some 600 internally displaced persons (IDPs).

According to sources in the village, the 39 former captives, who were originally from the village of King-talin, arrived in Meezar from the village of Ohn-thi-wa at around 11:30am on Friday.

“They arrived in Meezar today, all 39 of them. Some were in poor physical condition. All of the married men in the group were taken to the Tron-Ai military camp for questioning,” a local villager told Khonumthung News.

It was unclear until today whether the group included all of the villagers who were abducted by AA forces on February 2. More than half of the villagers were children under the age of 18, including 15 girls and five boys.

The AA troops initially forced 54 villagers to return with them to their base camp near the Bangladesh border, but 14 of the captives later escaped. At least one person reportedly died in AA custody.

The armed group said in a statement that they transported the King-talin villagers to Ohn-thi-wa village at their request after they complained about living conditions at the AA camp during the rainy season. They arrived in Ohn-thi-wa, about a one-day walk from Meezar, at around 9:30am on July 31.

The AA statement denied that the villagers had been held against their will, claiming instead that they had been rescued from the conflict-affected area.

It was unclear what provisions have been made for the King-talin villagers in Meezar, which is already facing a lack of basic necessities, including foodstuffs, due to the influx of IDPs fleeing clashes between the AA and the Burma Army.

SEO KEYWORDS: Arakan Army, Paletwa, Chin, villagers

FACEBOOK: The 39 former captives now join 600 IDPs in a village that lacks many basic necessities due to the conflict in southern Chin State.

TWITTER: More than half of the abducted #King-talin #villagers from #Paletwa Township were #Children. #ArakanArmy #BurmaArmy #Tatmadaw #Burma #Myanmar

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