An official from State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi’s ruling party died on December 25, two weeks after being detained by rebels in Myanmar’s Rakhine region. Buthidaung National League for Democracy (NLD) Chairman Ye Thein was captured by Arakan Army, an armed wing of the United League of Arakan (ULA), for organising protests against genocide accusations at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
The Arakan Army, in a statement, said that some detainees, including NLD chairman from Buthidaung, died while some got injured in the explosion, allegedly executed by Myanmar’s army. In October, Security forces of Myanmar managed to rescue 14 people, with the help of armed helicopters, abducted by the Arakan Army rebels in Rakhine state. The Myanmar government is trying to take control of Rakhine state after the exodus of thousands of Rohingya Muslims since 2017.
According to the Arakan Army, its position in the region was under attack by Myanmar’s security forces which also led to the displacement of Rohingya Muslims. The Arakan Army, currently led by Commander in chief Twan Myat Naing, was established in 2009 by ethnic Rakhine Buddhists with an objective to seek greater autonomy from the central government. The rebel group wants self-determination for multi-ethnic Arakanese population and claims that it has no links with Rohingya rebel group. The Rohingya rebel group’s attack in 2017 led to the crackdown by Myanmar’s Army which created a humanitarian crisis in the Rakhine state.
Recently, the Thai officials detained the wife and children of Major General Tun Myat Naing on December 4 in Chiang Mai, in northern Thailand. Naing’s 38-year-old wife Hnin Zar Phyu, 11-year old daughter Saw Pyae Shun, and 11-month-old son Myat Lin Zan were detained at an immigration office in Mae Sai district. According to the media reports, the family is still in Thailand and with immigration officials still investigating the case, their deportation might be delayed. Naing’s wife was charged with illegal entry since Myanmar has revoked her passport.