Sein Ko Ko/ DMG
April 11, Sittwe
After a two-hour battle between a Tatmadaw column conducting security in the region and a troop of the AA dressed in mufti near Lekka village in Rakhine State’s Mrauk-U Township, the Tatmadaw detained some people from the village.
Since members of the AA fled into Lekka village, a residential area near the scene of the battle, the Tatmadaw troop conducted clearance operations in the village and detained suspected people from the village because the AA troops were hiding in the village posing as villagers.
After the incident, the Tatmadaw True News Information Team announced that the Tatmadaw troop apprehended 23 suspected people who are not residents of the village.
However, the administrator of Lekka village said that a total of 27 people, including19 local residents and 8 people from other villages were arrested.
U Aung Than Myint, administrator of Lekka village, said soldiers arrested villagers by checking their names against the list they found although he told them they were members of the village sentry.
“They entered and searched through our village. And they got a list of people from a house. It is the list of the village sentry that includes 35 people. They said that it was the list of the AA troops and they found 19 people with the same name on the list,” he said.
“And, they said that guns might be hidden in the village. So, I told them to search for munitions if they wanted to but they declined.”
He added that two of the eight people from other villages were carpenters and the remaining people were visitors who were in the village to withdraw money transferred by their family members.
“My son and nephew were arrested. I knew about it when the head carpenter told me yesterday evening. I have not met them so far. Currently, they were taken to Mrauk-U town,” said U Kyan Maung.
The two carpenters are building a house for U Maung San Mya.
“They arrived in our village on March 20 to construct my house. They were selected as being suspicious people from the group of visitors in the village. They were taken with both hands tied behind their backs,” U Maung San Mya said.
The Tatmadaw troop brought 23 villagers to Mrauk-U while four others were taken to Tin Nyo village, Lekka villagers said.
The statement released by the Tatmadaw said that it found that 23 suspected people were strangers in the village because they were not known by village elders and local residents, 13 of them were from a 35-member group headed by Tha Tun San according to a list seized from them. The Tatmadaw was still investigating the other 10 people.
When the DMG contacted Colonel Win Zaw Oo from the Western Command about the detained people, he said that they all were sequestered in a safe place for questioning and they will be released if they are found not guilty.
“If we found a concrete evidence if they are not guilty, we will release them. Those who are found to have affiliations with members of the AA will be dealt with according to the law. We checked them against the list we seized and we detained them to ask more question. The 23 detained people are from the list that includes37 people. They are not villagers,” Colonel Win Zaw Oo said.