A warden from the Jan Mai Kawng Baptist Church camp has been arrested by Myitkyina-based Military Affairs Security Unit who is investigating a bomb attack.
There are about 700 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the camp.
According to the camp’s IDP committee, agents from the MAS and several police from a local police station arrested Lahtaw Brang Shawng, at 9 pm on June 17. It’s alleged he fled from the area where a bomb attack took place in Kachin Independence Army (KIA) controlled territories.
“They arrested him under suspicion of being part of the bomb attack. They said he will be released if found not guilty” said Maran Labung, a camp leader.
But the camp committee is concerned he’s being tortured at the police station.
“They didn’t have evidence to prove he was connected to the bombing when they arrested him. I went to the MAS office in Myitkyina the night of his arrest. They placed in a private room. I don’t know what they did to him,” said one camp leader.
According to a camp resident, when Lahtaw Brang Shawng was arrested the police said he would be released within a day if he is not guilty. So far he has not been released and no-one knows where he is now being detained.
“We thought Lahtaw Brang Shawng was still being detained at MAS office but the police said he wasn’t there anymore. No-one can tell us where he is. We will continue trying to discover his whereabouts. We are also preparing a letter to the president”, he told KNG.
Lahtaw Brang Shawng, 29, has three children. He’s from Npawn Village in Waingmaw Township the site of where the conflict between Kachin Independent Army (KIA) and Burmese military began, over one-year ago (June 9).
Before his arrest, Lahtaw Brang Shawng, who has three-children, was living at Jan Mai Kawng for nearly a year.
His family is worried about him because he doesn’t speak much Burmese.
“He hasn’t done anything,” said mother in law, Hpauje Htu.
“He works hard as a daily worker to support the family.”
The Burmese government has been arresting many people who have fled from KIA-controlled territories since the conflict began. They using the Act 17/1, which forbids any contact with an illegal association or trying to pin them to bomb attacks.
According to their family members once under arrest they are tortured. Often they don’t why they were arrested or even where they are being detained.
As these kinds of arrests happen more frequently IDPs living in government controlled areas are worried about their security.
Manam Tu was arrested from Jan Mai Kawng camp last May 28. Since then the family members have not been able to see him but they suspect he’s being tortured.