Arakan Army frees NLD lawmaker after two months’ detention

The Arakan Army (AA) has released a ruling party MP after keeping him detained for more than two months, the group said in a statement on Monday.

Soldiers from the rebel group detained NLD lawmaker Hawi Tin in November while he was travelling on a motorboat to a meeting in Rakhine’s Kyauktaw township.

Nine others, including five Indian nationals working in construction, were detained with the MP. One of the Indians died shortly afterwards of a suspected heart attack.

The AA released all the remaining captives except for Hawi Tin, who they accused of working with the Tatmadaw and trying to inflame local ethnic tensions.

The MP was released Monday at a “safe location”, the AA said in its statement. A photo of the MP arriving at a jetty in his constituency of Paletwa, Chin state, later circulated on social media.

The group also freed a male school teacher together with the MP, said AA spokesperson Khaing Thukha, without giving further details.

Middle men got in touch with Hawi Tin’s family on Monday and asked them to pick him up near Buyone village, at the border between Chin and Rakhine states, Chin municipal affairs minister Soe Htet told Myanmar Now.

Hawi Tin the phoned his family in Paletwa at about 3pm to inform them he had left the drop off point with other relatives.

“He said they had left on a motor boat,” Soe Htet said.

NLD spokesperson Dr Myo Nyunt said he could not confirm Hawi Tin’s release as he had not been able to contact the family directly.

The Union Parliament officially condemned Hawi Tin’s capture in November, branding it a direct attack on the government’s efforts to achieve national peace.

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