Three civilians are still missing following clashes between the Burma Army and the Arakan Army (AA) in the Peechaung area of Chin State’s Paletwa Township in October of last year.
Sixty-year-old Kho Lo, 14-year-old Benjamin, and 15-year-old Maung Kyaw Naing disappeared six months ago when fighting broke out. A local pastor told Khonumthung that they had gone into the jungle to search for edible plants, and were never seen again.
“They disappeared on the day that the Tatmadaw and AA forces clashed in the jungle… There is no witness [who knows]what’s happened to them,” the pastor, who is close to the victims’ families, said. “Nobody knows whether they were killed or if they were arrested. If they died in the jungle, their bodies must be there, but we didn’t see anything around there. So it’s really difficult to tell what happened to them.”
He went on to say that neither the government forces nor the AA has provided any information as to what could have happened to the missing man and boys.
“We are still waiting for their return,” the pastor said, adding that their absence has been hard on their families. “All we can is pray for them. God be with them and their family.” The Burma Army and the AA have clashed in Paletwa Township since March 2015, but fighting has intensified in recent months, with the number of internally displaced people increasing. The government has delayed infrastructure development projects due to the armed conflict, citing insecurity in the area.