Junta arrests three men in Rakhine State over accusations of PDF ties 

Three men including a member of the Arakan Front Party (AFP) were arrested in Rakhine State after they were accused of having connections to local People’s Defence Forces (PDFs). 

Sein Chit, a 42-year-old AFP member, was arrested at his home in Thandwe on October 9, with lawsuits filed against him the following day alleging he had violated Sections 50a and 52a of the Counterterrorism Law, according to Khin Hnin Phyu, his wife. The first charge carries a prison sentence of 10 years to life if convicted with the second being three to 10 years.  

The sections ban acts of “serious damage and loss” to public security or property. 

“We still don’t know anything for sure. They said he had ties with or was helping the PDF,” she said on Sunday. 

While PDF chapters have formed nationwide within the anti-junta resistance movement in the months since Myanmar’s February 1 military coup, at the time of reporting, PDFs were not known to operate in Rakhine State. The primary armed group in the state is the Arakan Army, which entered into a ceasefire agreement with the military in November 2020. 

Her husband is reportedly detained in one of the two military bases in Thandwe, but Khin Hnin Phyu explained that she had not been notified as to which one. 

“We only got to see him during his court hearing at the township court. We didn’t get to speak properly with him,” said, adding that Sein Chit had had at least two hearings. 

Vice president and spokesperson for AFP, Kyaw Zaw Oo, told Myanmar Now that the Rakhine political party was closely monitoring Sein Chit’s case, but did “not know anything for sure yet.”

Sein Chit ran for election in 2020 to represent Thandwe Township’s Constituency 2, but lost.

He runs a family seafood business and also is known as a philanthropist, his wife said. 

After Sein Chit was arrested, 24-year-old Ye Naing Oo, who was doing charity work with him, was also arrested on Saturday afternoon and is reportedly facing similar charges. 

Ye Naing Oo reportedly worked as a taxi driver and was a resident of Ngapali Township, according to local sources. 

Another man, 23-year-old author Min Dipar—also known as Myo Haung Myay—from Mrauk-U Township’s Panmaw village, was arrested on October 15 allegedly over the same accusation of having PDF ties. 

The victim’s brother, Aung Myint, said that the family was awaiting a further explanation for the arrest at Min Dipar’s court hearing, scheduled to be held at the Mrauk-U courthouse on Friday. 

“He still isn’t allowed to see his family. He’s now being held at the Mrauk-U central police station and we still don’t know why he was arrested,” Aung Myint said. 

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