Arakan Army releases detained Chin youth leader
15 December 2020 – The Arakan Army (AA) has released Salai Aung Soe, a local youth leader from Paletwa Township, Chin State after detaining him for over 4 months, according to family members.
The family confirmed that he was freed from detention today and that he was taken straight away to the Paletwa town police station for what was called ‘questioning’.
They told the Chin Human Rights Organization that his parents had travelled two times to places near the village where he was first arrested and considered to be occupied by AA in an attempt to meet with the leaders but their trips were not successful.
They had also written letters seeking support from international and other relevant bodies for the release of their son, they added.
While welcoming the release of the Khumi youth leader, CHRO recalled that Salai Aung Soe spent 138 days in AA custody after being kidnapped by the ethnic armed group on 29 July.
Salai Za Uk Ling, CHRO deputy executive director, said: “The release of Salai Aung Soe, while long overdue, is a welcome development for his family and everyone who were concerned about his well-being under the AA custody. This also goes to show that pressure does work and that everyone who was involved in sending that message of disapproval should feel a sense of satisfaction for having contributed to his release.”
“But we should also be not complacent because there are at least 16 innocent Chin civilians who remain missing at this point. The families have the right to know the status of their loved ones who are missing, especially those people who are known to have disappeared after being kidnapped by the AA,” Salai Ling added.
CHRO said in a statement on 4 August that the four Chin youths – Salai Aung Tun Ko, Salai Khin Maung Tun, Salai Benjamin and Salai Aung Soe – were travelling between Kyuaktaw, Rakhine State and Paletwa Town, Chin State when AA soldiers followed and stopped their boat near Bedon village, Paletwa Township.
In late August, three out of four Khumi youths abducted during their trip to Paletwa Town by the Arakan Army were released while whereabouts of Salai Aung Soe then remained unknown.
Meanwhile, some local media said that Salai Aung Soe might be kept in quarantine in accordance with local COVID-19 restriction measures.#