Family demands Tatmadaw release Hpakant man arrested last month

  • Written by KNG
  • Published in KNG

After a Kachin man allegedly disappeared following his arrest by the Tatmadaw last month, his relatives submitted a letter on July 24 requesting the Kachin State Chief Minister and the Northern Command oversee his release.

Naw Jar, from Lah War Village in Hpakant township, was drunkenly headed home on the night of June 20 when he ran into to a group of soldiers, according to local residents who claimed to have witnessed the incident. The soldiers allegedly arrested the man near the village market, hitting him in the shoulder, and tying his hands behind his back before hauling him away.

The alleged arrest took place soon after a skirmish broke out between the Tatmadaw and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) near the village, the residents said.

The Kachin man’s daughter, N’lam Kaw Mai, told Kachin News Group that the Tatmadaw has not revealed so much as the reason for his arrest, even though they detained him over one month ago now. She added that the family does not even know his current whereabouts.

“We still haven’t heard any news about him. Did they do something to him? Is he suffering while he is being detained? Are they hiding the news without telling the family because he has been killed? We want to know the answers,” she said.

The military column that arrested Naw Jar includes the 86th, 297th, and 298th infantry battalions led by deputy battalion commander Saw Bo Bo Lwin from the 297th Infantry Battalion.

Naw Jar is a local farmer and the father of five children, the youngest of whom is a student in the 10th Standard.

Naw Jar’s relatives urged the Kachin State government and the Northern Command to immediately investigate the arrest. Copies of the July 24 letter were also sent to the State Counselor’s Office, the Myanmar Human Rights Commission and the United Nations special rapporteur for the situation of human rights in Myanmar.

In a separate incident, the Tatmadaw’s infantry unit 319 allegedly arrested three Kachin men near Maing Khaung Village in Mansi township on May 25. A village administrator told Radio Free Asia that the bodies of Nhkum Gam Awng, 31, Maran Brang Seng, 22, and Labya Naw Hkum, 27, were discovered three days later with gun shot and knife wounds. Residents of an internally displaced persons camp reportedly found the bodies just four miles from a military post.

Local rights groups and activists have accused the Tatmadaw of committing numerous human rights abuses against civilians in conflict zones, including the still unresolved rape and murder of two Kachin teachers in 2015.