Dozens arrested in Mrauk-U after AA detains suspected junta spies

Regime forces have arrested at least 30 people in Rakhine State’s Mrauk-U Township after the Arakan Army (AA) detained three men suspected of being military intelligence officers on Tuesday evening.

Residents of Mrauk-U said that four military trucks began patrolling the town and making arrests early Wednesday morning. They have also taken up position at several key locations, including the Ah Lel Zay bridge and a local high school.

“I heard it has something to do with three military intelligence officers who were taken by the AA yesterday,” a resident who did not want to be named told Myanmar Now on Wednesday.

According to another local man who witnessed the arrest of a trishaw driver, a total of around 30 people are believed to have been taken into custody.

“The military checked the trishaw driver’s phone. I don’t know what they found, but they placed him under arrest. From what I’ve heard, at least 30 people, including three students, have been arrested,” the man said.

A woman living in the town’s Ah Lel Zay ward said that the middle school there allowed students to go home at noon due to concerns about the arrests.

“I heard that an eighth grader and a ninth grader were among those arrested. Apparently, they were picked up on their way to school and forced to sit in the scorching sun. I guess that’s why the middle school let its students go home early,” she said.

She added that the town’s Myoma market had also been closed and that even staff from the township general administration office and health department didn’t dare go out for fear of being arrested.

According to the woman, the regime forces are also targeting members of the AA’s political wing, the United League of Arakan (ULA).   

“There are ULA/AA members who are assigned to collect funds from each ward. The military got a list of their names and addresses, so all of them have fled,” she said.

Bus services between Mrauk-U and other major centres in northern Rakhine State, including Sittwe, Kyauktaw and Ponnagyun, have also been suspended, she added.

Arrests were also reported in Ponnagyun Township, near the state capital Sittwe, over the weekend, after a junta soldier was abducted there last Thursday, allegedly by the AA.

At a press conference held last week, the AA confirmed that it had arrested two regime soldiers in Kyauktaw Township on June 11 in retaliation for the detention of several of its members. 

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