The Arakan Army released Paletwa Township parliamentarian Hawi Tin on Tuesday after holding him for more than two months in the group’s custody.
According to a statement published by the Arakan Army on January 21, they freed the National League for Democracy MP, an ethnic Khumi, in order to rebuild trust and foster reconciliation between the Rakhine and Khumi communities.
Aung Gyi, Hawi Tin’s father-in-law, confirmed to Khonumthung News by phone that his son-in-law had been released and that he had spoken to him, but that he had not yet arrived home.
“He is on the way back to Paletwa. He didn’t tell us where he was… We are waiting for him at his home. We are so happy for his release,” Aung Gyi told Khonumthung News on Tuesday.
Arakan Army troops arrested Hawi Tin on November 3 of last year while he was traveling between Paletwa Township in Chin State to Kyauktaw Township in Rakhine State to attend a parliamentary meeting.
In a Khonumthung News interview with Arakan Army spokesperson Khine Thukha published on January 18, the armed group said that they had been gathering information about the MP for years, alleging that his activities had been contributing to ethnic tension.
“We have concrete information, data, records, and evidence about him. If we release him now, religious and interethnic conflicts could possibly occur in the Paletwa region. That’s why we are still detaining Hawi Ting,” Khine Thukha said.
The spokesperson also said that the MP was in good health, and that the greatest threat to his security was indiscriminate shelling by the Burma Army in the region.
Along with Hawi Tin, the Arakan Army also reportedly released Tawng Pan, an education staff member in Ahtet Pwi-wong village. He had been in Arakan Army custody since October 2019.