The Association for Human Rights and Justice Initiative (HRJI) and several civil society organizations (CSOs) condemned an ethnic armed organization (EAO) after it allegedly demanded ransom money for civilians it kidnapped in Mandalay Region.
A joint statement was released on December 7 calling for the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) to release civilians abducted by the EAO in ruby-rich Mogok Township, where it’s currently fighting with the Burma Army.
Naing Moe, head of HRJI’s Mandalay branch, told SHAN that TNLA soldiers collected taxes from civilians in the town of Mogok, while they beat people up and kidnapped civilians. “It seems like there’s no rule of law in Mogok!”
The violence has struck fear among the community, Naing Moe said, prompting some to contact HRJI and other CSOs for assistance.
HRJI is sending its joint statement to the president, the commander-in-chief of the Burma Army, and the minister of border affairs and security, International Human Rights Commission and to China, Naing Moe said.
TNLA kidnapped Kyaw Win, who owns Sanpya Bakery, on December 4. Ta’ang soldiers also allegedly abducted Khin Htay Myint on October 17. But released her 10 days after her family paid a 34 million kyat ($265K) ransom. In addition, TNLA stands accused of extorting money from businessmen, owners of ruby mines and shops around Mogok.
Mai Aik Kyaw, spokesperson for TNLA’s information department, confirmed Kyaw Win’s kidnapping with SHAN.
The Shan State Progress Party (SSPP) also stands accused of kidnapping 16 local people in Mogok Township between December 3-5. SSPP claims the abductees are drug addicts and were sent to its rehabilitation center.
Earlier this week, SSPP allegedly abducted youth in Tang Yang Township for the same reasons.
SSPP and TNLA are part of the Northern Alliance.