The Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO) is calling on the Arakan Army (AA) to release 52 Chin civilians, including 17 children, who have been held captive by the group for the past four months.
According to the CHRO, AA forces entered the village of King-Talin in southern Chin State’s Paletwa Township on February 2 and forced its inhabitants to gather in the local church.
They then ordered the villagers to go with them to the Bangladeshi border and beat the village headman when they resisted.
All but two of the 54 villagers who were abducted at the time are still in AA custody. The other two escaped en route to the border, the CHRO said.
“It has already been more than four months since they [AA] arrested these civilians,” CHRO field director Ko Terah told Khonumthung News. “I don’t know why they are holding these innocent people, but I demand that they release them immediately.”
He added: “There are 17 children among the detained people. School has now started, but they can’t attend because they are being held captive. This means that the AA is destroying the future of these children.”
Relatives of the detained villagers say that they have had no contact with them since they were abducted.
“They have my wife and five daughters. I was traveling when [the AA troops]came and took them away. I am so upset because it has been more than four months since I had any contact with them. I am worrying about them all the time,” said Kan Aung, an employee of King-Talin’s primary school quoted in the CHRO’s report on the abduction.
The CHRO reported that the AA forces are still holding the villagers in their military camp near the Bangladesh border.
It said they are prohibited from leaving the camp.