Neighbours raise alarm over teacher arrested in Taungup 

A high-school teacher who was arrested in southern Rakhine State’s Taungup Township early Saturday morning has not been heard from since, according to local residents.

Neighbours of Cherry Thet Shey say that plainclothes officers took the 40-year-old schoolteacher into custody at her home in Taungup’s Kanpai ward at around 9am on Saturday.

“We heard that she was being arrested, and when we went outside to check, we saw that she was already in a car,” said a local woman who witnessed the arrest.

Another resident of the area told Myanmar Now that the reason for the arrest was not clear, although it was known that Cherry Thet Shey had been taking part in the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) against military rule since February.

“She joined the CDM soon after the coup. She had also resigned from her job at the state education department. But we still don’t know why she was arrested,” said the neighbour, noting that no charges had been filed against her at the local police station.

“If taking part in the CDM was the reason for her arrest, they would have taken her away a long time ago,” he added. 

Other residents expressed concern about the teacher’s elderly mother and two teenaged sons, who all depend on her for care.

“There’s nothing we can do right now but worry about her. We don’t even know where to go to ask about her,” said one woman living near the family’s home.  

“I really want justice to prevail. We’re also worried about her being tortured,” the woman added.

Although the reaction to the coup has been relatively muted in Rakhine State, a number of people in southern parts of the state have been arrested on suspicion of involvement with the anti-regime People’s Defence Force (PDF).

Sein Chit, a member of the Arakan Front Party, was arrested in Thandwe Township early last month for allegedly helping a local PDF group. Ye Naing Oo, a colleague who did charity work with Sein Chit, was arrested on the same charges later the same day. 

About a week later, 23-year-old writer Min Dipar was taken into custody, also on suspicion of having PDF ties.  

At least 10 local leaders of the ousted ruling party, the National League for Democracy, have also faced prosecution in the state on various charges. The party enjoys strong support in the state’s southern townships.

Earlier this month, two women and a teenaged girl were arrested in Thandwe Township and charged under the Counterterrorism Law after being accused of financing PDF operations. 

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