Nang Mo Hom, a mother of three, has been held by the TNLA for one month.
More than 20,000 people gathered for a peaceful protest in Namkham, northern Shan State, on Monday morning calling for the immediate release of a woman who has been held by the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) for one month.
Nang Mo Hom, a mother of three, has been in the custody of the Ta’ang armed group since August 17, when she was arrested at her home in Ho Nawng ward by five soldiers. She has reportedly been charged with involvement in the death of a TNLA soldier who was killed by the Burma Army last year after collecting “tax” in Nang Mo Hom’s community. Her family has denied allegations that she played any role in the incident.
In addition to asking that Nang Mo Hom be returned home, demonstrators at Monday’s event chanted slogans demanding an end to illegal taxation, and for enforcement of the rule of law.
“We oppose any armed force if they arrest innocent local people. Armed forces must protect people. That’s why we want to call for the immediate release of Nang Mo Hom,” Namkham youth representative Sai Aik Khur told SHAN, who added that he was worried about relations between the area’s ethnic Shan community—to which Nang Mo Hom belongs—and the Ta’ang community. “We have been living together in Namkham for so many years,” he said of the two groups.
Nang Mo Hom’s sister, Nang Mo Kham, thanked Namkham locals for speaking out on Monday, and said that she hoped the TNLA would respond accordingly.
“We haven’t heard any information about [Nang Mo Hom] since she was arrested. Her family members have been so worried about her health and her security,” she said. “Her children are so young. Children need to be taken care of by their mother. I would like to demand that the TNLA immediately release her.”
Nang Mo Hom’s family members also demonstrated in Namkham on September 7, alongside civil society representatives.
Her case has brought to light other arrests by the TNLA, including that of Sai Yi Seng Mueng, who was reportedly taken into custody in 2016 and has not been heard from since.
“We don’t know whether he is still alive. We have been worried about him every day,” his father, Sai Lane Seng, told SHAN. “We want to demand TNLA not arrest people like Nang Mo Hom. Now the TNLA knows the desire of people, so I expect they will release Nang Mo Hom with sympathy,” he said.