18 Disappeared Civilians for 3 Months in Myanmar's Rakhine State Have No Clue They Are Dead or Alive

Photo provided by AHRDPA. Mothers and Sisters of 18 disappeared villagers in Tin Ma and Tin Ma Year That villages during the press conference in Sittway on June 15

AN. Sittway. June 16, 2020 
Mothers and sisters of 18 disappeared villagers in Tin Ma and Tin Ma Ywar Thit villages, Kyawtaw township in Rakhine State, held the press conference in Sitway yesterday and called on Myanmar government to investigate and set free their love ones. 

Ten parents and siblings attended the press conference hosted by Arakan Human Rights Defender and Promoter Association (AHRDPA) in Sittway at 11 o’clock yesterday morning. 

Daw Aye Ye, mother of 14 years old disappeared student Maung Tun Tun Win told the press, “Many soldiers entered into our village while opening fire the guns on March 16. Three soldiers directly came to our house. We were sitting together on the ground under the house after lunch. Then one of the soldiers yelled at my son…You are running away..right? My mother told the solider he was her grandson. Quickly, another solider pointed his gun at my mother. She silenced. Then the soldiers grabbed and dragged my son away. Since then, my son has been missing.”

Myanmar army arrested 18 villagers from Tin Ma village and Tin Ma Ywar Thit villages on March 14 and 16 including elderlies, a 14 years old student, and a disable and deaf man. The families have not got any contact with their love ones for over 3 months since they were arrested. They do not know whether they are dead or alive. 

The government army also set fire entire village in March. 

The 8 disappeared villagers from Tin Ma Ywar Thit on March 14 are U Maung Sit Gree, 75, U Hla Kyaw Gree, 70, U Maung Tun Sein, 65, U Soe Shwe Than, 50, U San Thar Maung 50, U Myint Aye, 46, U Maung Than Soe, 37, and U Kyaw Win Maung, 34.

The 10 disappeared villagers from Tin Ma Gyi village on March 16 are U Aung Nyunt, 69, U Tun Win Aung, 64, U Maung Win Gree, 50, U Maung Win Sein, 50, U Maung Kray Lin, 40, U Maung Than Tun, 40, U Maung Win Chay, 37, U Yin Maung, 36, Maung Nay Lin Oo, 26, and Maung Tun Tun Win 14. 

Maung Nay Lin Oo is disable and deaf, who was also arrested by the soldier in Tin Ma village on March 16 and disappeared.

“My son is a disable and deaf. He cannot speak and hear. My uncle told the soldiers when they arrested my son he was disable and deaf. But the soldiers did not listen to my uncle. They dragged away my son,” said Daw Than Yi, mother of Maung Nay Lin Oo, 24.

The parents and siblings want their loved ones’ freedom and also want to know whether they are still alive or killed.

Another villager and sister of the one of the missing men, who does not want to use her name for publication, told our news agency after the press conference she believes they all are killed by the Myanmar soldiers and buried somewhere in the mountain near the village. She said the relative are afraid to go and search them since the army is still holding the base out there. 

The military spokesperson Maj. Gen. Zaw Min Tun denied and told Irrawaddy News on June he did not have any information and knowledge about the arrest of 18 villagers in Tin Ma villages.

Several dead bodies buried in the mountain were found in April after Myanmar soldiers arrested and disappeared in January in in Minbya township. 

Retired UN human rights expert Miss Yanghee Lee highlighted the disappeared villagers in Tin Ma and called for investigation of war crimes and crimes against humanity into the Myanmar army. 

Local people reported there are hundreds of disappeared villagers and still missing in Rakhine State since the war has begun in 2019. 

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