Photo: Ko Aung Hlaing Win is seen together with Moe Pyinnyar Dana Philanthropic Association’s training school trainees. (Photo: Ko Nay Lin Aung)

DMG Newsroom
7 June 2021, Taungup

Seven people including Ko Aung Hlaing Win, chairman of the Moe Pyinnyar Dana Philanthropic Association in Taungup, Arakan State, were reportedly arrested by the Tatmadaw on June 5 at the Phon Nyo security checkpoint on the Taungup-Thandwe road, according to family members.

Ko Aung Hlaing Win left his home on Saturday morning and did not return for lunch, so his wife went looking for him. An eyewitness said he saw Ko Aung Hlaing Win being taken into custody by security personnel from the Tatmadaw’s Taungup-based Battalion No. 346.

“He [Ko Aung Hlaing Win] was arrested at Phon Nyo security checkpoint near Battalion No. 346 at an exit to Taungup, according to eyewitnesses,” said Ko Maung Maung Thein, an auditor with the Moe Pyinnyar Dana Philanthropic Association. “We don’t know where he is being held or why he was arrested. Media reports say he was arrested for having links to the Arakan Army.”

The names of the other six people reportedly detained along with Ko Aung Hlaing Win were not yet known, he added.

Ko Nay Win Aung, a friend of Ko Aung Hlaing Win, said the detainee was a philanthropist and that it was not true that he had anything to do with the Arakan Army (AA).

“I heard that he was arrested for having ties to the AA, but that’s impossible. He has no links to the AA. We together did our best for the philanthropic centre. He is a cool person and we are also investigating the matter,” Ko Nay Win Aung said.

Ko Aung Hlaing Win is reportedly being detained by Battalion No. 346 and his wife, Ma Twetar Soe, said she was worried about her husband because she had not been allowed to see him for two days.

“I heard he is being held at Battalion No. 346 and we are not allowed to see him. We are concerned for his safety,” she said.

According to his wife, Ko Aung Hlaing Win runs a fishing business to support his family.

U Than Htay, chairman of the Taungup Township Administration Council, was contacted by DMG about allegations that the Tatmadaw had arrested seven locals, but he said he did not know about the arrests.

Moe Pyinnyar Dana Philanthropic Association was established in April of this year and offers free vocational training, including computer classes and English language workshops, and is attended by more than 50 trainees from Arakan State.

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