AA blasts Myanmar junta for lax border security after kidnapping incident

The Arakan Army (AA) has accused Myanmar’s military junta of failing to secure the country’s borders following the recent abduction of two school staffers in northern Rakhine State.

School headmaster Bo Win and teacher Ohnmar Kyaw spent a week in captivity in neighbouring Bangladesh after being kidnapped in Maungdaw Township on June 16.

Speaking to Myanmar Now on Saturday, AA spokesperson Khaing Thukha said the episode pointed to the regime’s incapacity to protect ordinary citizens and government employees alike.

“This will be a great cause for concern for all people living along the border. It also clearly shows the military council’s inability to safeguard those who work for them,” he said.

Since the return of the pair to Myanmar last week, Rakhine State’s junta-appointed chief minister, Aung Kyaw Min, has revealed on social media that a ransom of more than 100m kyat ($54,000) was paid to secure their release.

No details about who the money was paid to, or which group is believed to have carried out the kidnapping, were disclosed, however.

The families of the abductees have also been silent on the matter, suggesting that they have been barred from speaking to the media.

Attempts by Myanmar Now and other news outlets to reach the victims and those close to them for comment have been unsuccessful.

However, an employee of Maungdaw’s education department did confirm that individuals directly involved in the case have been subjected to pressure from the regime to remain quiet.

“They’re staying silent because someone doesn’t want them to say anything. That someone is the government,” he said.

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