Ethnic Ta’ang community leaders are demanding justice and human rights for five Namhsan township villagers detained by the military on August 1.
“We have sent letters to the township-level authorities, MPs from the hluttaw, the military battalion commander and the police station about this case,” said Lway Poe Jaing Kee, a spokesperson for the Ta’ang Women’s Organisation (TWO).
On August 1, U Than Nyunt, U Aike Cho, U Aik Nyann, Ko Air Sein and Ko Kyaw Thin left their homes in Namhsan township to travel to Thibaw/Hsipaw township to sell tea leaves. They were detained by a military battalion at Lilu Bridge, according to witnesses. One local said they were tortured by the military, according to a statement from the TWO.
The eyewitness claims they were sent to Hsipaw township. When their family members rushed to the Hsipaw military complex, they were told that no villagers had been detained, said Lway Poe Jaing Kee.
“The Human Rights Commission has responsibilities to protect the civilians, and to find justice and to protect civilians who suffer from human right violations,” she said.
In March, more than 100 villagers from Namhsan, Kutkai and Kyaukme townships were detained by the Tatmadaw. All but 10 were freed.
Those released said they were asked about their contact with and support for the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA). They were beaten during the investigation, they said.
Namhsan, Mine Ton/Mong Ton, Namkham and Kutkai townships have been the worst places for human rights abuses in recent months, from both the military and armed ethnic groups, according to Ta’ang human rights watch groups.