The men, who range in age from 19 to 23, were working on the Shan-China border to earn money for their school fees and to support their families.
Four men from northern Shan State’s Kutkai Township have been missing for one month after going to seek work on the Burma-China border.
The men are Sai Aik Yun, 23; Sai Aik Tun, 22; Sai Aik Yi, 19; and Sai Manglu, 20. All are from Mongsi village tract, and are ethnic Ta’ang and Shan. Relatives say they worked at the Ho Nawng-Nam Pang jetty on the river separating Muse and Ruili, China, to earn money for their school fees and provide support to their families. They have not been heard from since August 19.
“When they didn’t come back home after working in China, parents and relatives went to enquire at Ho Nawng-Nam Pang jetty. The people at the jetty didn’t want to answer questions,” said Sai Jian, the brother of one of the missing men. “Finally, we received information that one of the four youth had been arrested by an armed group. The three other young men fled, but then they were also arrested. Until now, they haven’t been able to come back home.”
Sai Jian added that he did not know which armed organization had taken his brother but that he and his family wanted to “request their release.”
“If someone finds them, please, let us know. We are so worried about them because they have been arrested for over a month. We already reported it to the government authorities and the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) offices in Kutkai, Muse and Lashio towns,” he told SHAN.
A member of the SNLD in Muse said that they would look into “how to find those young men.”
Government forces, paramilitary groups, the Ta’ang National Liberation Army, and the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army are active around the Ho Nawng-Nam Pang jetty in Muse Township.