More captured villagers released by KIA
Another seven villagers who were captured by the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) were released, but the fate of many others is still unknown, according to officials.
THE Kachin Independence Army (KIA) released on October 10 another seven villagers who were held hostage, Police Lieutenant Colonel Myo Thura Naung of Kachin State Police Force told The Myanmar Times.
“Some villagers have been freed. But as we don’t conduct searches or investigation, we can’t exactly say why they were captured.
“As the area is not within our jurisdiction, we do not know the situation of the remaining villagers,” Police Lieutenant Colonel Myo Thura Naung said on Tuesday.
On October 5, more than 60 people: over 20 villagers and 40 banana farmers, from Sainglaw, Hongtaung and Kaungkha villages, located in Sadone Sub-township of Waingmaw township, were abducted by the KIA, said Myo Thura Naung.
The hostages are between the age of 20 and 30, and on October 7, KIA released eight of them, he added.
Among the abducted villagers, a total of eight civilians, Chinese and Shan nationals, were released on October 7, said Police Lieutenant Myo Si Thu from Sadone Police Station of Waingmaw.
In order to free the eight hostages, a negotiation was conducted with KIA officials, said PCG [Peace-talk Creation Group based in Myitkyina] spokesperson U Lamai Gunja.
“As we heard that Shan nationals were included among the hostages, we negotiated for their release to avoid unnecessary issues like ethnic problems. I don’t know about the remaining people,” U Lamai Gunja said.
Regarding the missing civilians and farmers, the case has been reported to the Ministry of Home Affairs as an extraordinary incident, said Police Captain Myo Thura Naung.
The police force could not manage for the release of the remaining abductees and only the state government will be able to negotiate here on, he added.
When Kachin State Chief Minister Dr Khet Aung was asked about the matter, he replied that the question should be raised with the Kachin Police Force.
U Lagang Ze Jung, Pyithu Hluttaw MP for Waingmaw constituency, said it won’t be easy to negotiate for the release of the remaining 40 villagers.
“I don’t have any plan yet. For us, it is a difficult operation,” he said.
“As we understand that the KIA is doing some recruitment, we cannot say anything about the rest of the villagers. There are rumors spreading that they would recruit more people,” said a monk, whose monastery is near Washawng village.
Due to fear of being arrested by the KIA, some villagers have fled their residences, the monk asked local residents to inform him if anyone is ever arrested.
The KIA is currently active in Waingmaw township. It has not signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement yet and military engagements with the Tatmadaw have been occurring since 2011.