Seriously injured man among three civilians detained in Mrauk-U without explanation and denied family visits 

The father of a seriously injured man who was taken from his home in Rakhine’s Mrauk-U township by Tatmadaw soldiers without explanation has said he is innocent and called for his release.

Than Myint Htay, 31, was bedbound at home in Leik Sin Pyin village recovering from a stomach wound after a tractor accident last week when soldiers showed up to detain him. 

His father, San Tun Phyu, has been unable to see him since and the military has refused to say why they took him. 

“My son did nothing wrong,” he told Myanmar Now. “I just want them to release him as soon as possible.”

Family members travelled to Tein Nyo village, where he was held temporarily on his way to another detention center, to plead for his release. 

They told soldiers his stomach wound was serious, San Tun Phyu said, but an officer said Than Myint Htay could not be released because he needed to be interrogated.

Than Myint Htay is one of at least 800 people the Tatmadaw and police have detained in Rakhine since clashes started in late 2018, according to figures compiled by the Thazin Legal Aid Network.  

The group said this number only includes people who have appeared in court to face charges. 

Than Myint Htay’s family says that on June 11, the day he was taken, a troop of Tatmadaw soldiers leaving Tein Nyo village was hit by a landmine explosion. They speculated that the same group was involved in detaining him. 

Five days after he was taken, two other people were also detained by the military in Mrauk-U. 

Myo Naing, 40, and May Hla Yi, 38, a married couple from Shwe Kyin Pyin village, were detained while on their way back home after collecting bamboo shoots, said Myat Tun, director of the Rakhine Human Rights Protection group.

All three detainees are being held in Pawtaw Pyin village, three miles from Mrauk-U, and family members have not been allowed to see them, he added. 

The Arakan Army has also taken large numbers of civilians captive amid intensifying fighting. In November last year an Indian national died after the group took him captive with nine others, including an NLD lawmaker.  

Myanmar Now reached out to Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun and General Tun Tun Nyi of the Military True News Information Team but did not receive a reply. 

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