In­dian worker dies in Myan­mar rebel op­er­a­tion

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

Yangon, Myan­mar - An In­dian con­struc­tion worker died while be­ing taken hostage with sev­eral com­pa­tri­ots by in­sur­gents in Myan­mar’s con­flict-scarred Rakhine state, rebels and the gov­ern­ment said on Mon­day.

The Arakan Army (AA) have changed tac­tics in re­cent weeks in their in­creas­ingly vi­cious bat­tle with Myan­mar troops - tak­ing mass hostages along rivers and roads in the large western state.

But it is the first time they have cap­tured for­eign work­ers in the re­source-rich area, which hosts a se­ries of in­fra­struc­ture projects link­ing In­dia and Myan­mar.

Ten peo­ple - in­clud­ing five In­di­ans and a law­maker from leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s Na­tional League for Democ­racy - were seized by AA fight­ers on Sun­day in the north­ern part of the state.

The rebels con­firmed the 60 year old worker’s death as the group were marched up a hill.

“Un­for­tu­nately he sud­denly died from ex­haus­tion... we did not do any­thing to him,” AA spokesman Khaing Thukha said.

“We did not tar­get the In­di­ans,” he said, but rather the MP.

The rest of the group were re­leased but the MP was held for ques­tion­ing, said Soe Htet, a gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial from the law­maker’s con­stituency in nearby

Chin state, adding the body of the dead man was also sent back.

The AA, which is fight­ing for greater au­ton­omy for eth­nic Rakhine Bud­dhists, has pre­vi­ously car­ried out am­bushes, as­sas­si­na­tions and bomb at­tacks.

But it has re­sorted to dar­ing ab­duc­tions of se­cu­rity forces in re­cent weeks.

A num­ber of hostages seized by eth­nic Rakhine rebels in a raid on a ferry packed with scores of po­lice and sol­diers were killed last month.

The rebels said they were killed by the mil­i­tary while in pur­suit, but the army de­nied they were re­spon­si­ble and blamed the AA.

Rakhine is the same area where the mil­i­tary drove out more than 740,000 Ro­hingya Mus­lims in a 2017 cam­paign UN in­ves­ti­ga­tors have called geno­cide.

(AFP)

Myan­mar’s army has de­ployed thou­sands of troops across Rakhine state

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