Police arrest vice chair of ABSDF, two others
ACTING on a complaint from the Tatmadaw’s (military’s) Northern Command, police have arrested three people for unlawful association, including the vice chair of northern chapter of the All Burma Students’ Democratic Front (ABSDF), in Mohnyin township, Kachin State.
Aung Swe Oo, vice chair of the northern ABSDF, Maung Oo, and Ko Than Htike Aung were arrested in Ywar Thit Kone village in Mohnyin town on Friday, and they were remanded on Saturday, according to U Kyaw Moe San, of the local chapter of the 88 Generation Peace and Open Society.
Police took the three into custody under the Unlawful Association Act section 17(1) because they stayed in an area under the control of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) without permission. Captain Thiha Soe of the Kha La Ya 15 infantry battalion in Mohnyin, filed the complaint.
“We’ve heard that they will be transferred to Myitkyina on Monday,” said U Kyaw Moe San.
“Aung Swe Oo went to read out a ‘release notification’ for ABSDF member Naing Tun Tun who had died in Mohnyin town, and he had a letter of permission to travel. He was arrested just before he returned, Salai Yaw Aung, who is on the group’s central committee, said.
The front is an armed group that has signed the government’s National Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) and is no longer on the unlawful associations list of the Home Affairs Ministry.
Aung Swe Oo was one of those who signed the NCA on behalf of the front.
In a state-level ceasefire agreement, the government and the front agreed that the group’s members would be allowed to travel without arms to other areas except zones where ABSDF troops are based.
The front is based in KIA-controlled Laiza town. The KIA has not signed the NCA.
“I think our comrades in the north were targeted. We are a legal organisation. It is due to their living in Laiza, which the KIA controls,” said Salai Yaw Aung.
The arrests shouldn’t have happened, and the group has asked the National Reconciliation and Peace Centre, Joint Monitoring Committee and Peace Commission to help settle the matter, he said.
It should be solved according to the NCA. The travel rights and security of northern students need to be discussed with the government, he said.
In December 2016, Min Htay of the front’s northern central committee was arrested by the military and held for eight months on the charge of having KIA connections. Momauk township court found him not guilty and released him in September 2017.