The Shan State Progress Party (SSPP/SSA) abducted four civilians in northern Shan State on Tuesday, June 8.
The Shan soldiers grabbed three people from Mang Li and one in Khe Moon. Both villages are in Hsipaw Township, where SSPP and the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) are fighting with each other. A local confirmed the abductions but couldn’t explain why the soldiers took the villagers.
When SHAN asked about the incident, a high-ranking SSPP official wouldn’t elaborate much about the incident. “Everyone is supporting their respective forces. We will keep them during this political crisis.” The official said that “as long as they remain good villagers” they would free them when the political situation stabilizes. The official promised swift action against anyone who runs away.
On June 7, SSPP abducted Loung Khur Lane in Pang Lon village, Namtu Township, and brought him to its Wanhai headquarters.
According to a villager, he has business ties with RCSS.
“They said they are investigating him. I think somebody told SSPP to arrest him. But I don’t exactly know why,” a woman from Namtu Township told SHAN.
A Buddhist monk said: “I heard it’s related to his garden…I think Loung Khur Lane owns the garden, but RCSS owns some of the trees on it.”
Maj Sai Than Aung, the SSPP spokesperson, said they plan to release him after conducting an investigation. The SSPP spokesperson said Loung Khur Lane and his son are in charge of RCSS’s business for the township. “Some complained after they forced people to sell them their land.”
According to locals, RCSS detained five civilians in Namtu Township two months ago and they haven’t released them.
Abductions by EAOs are common in northern Shan State, according to villagers fearful about their security.
The Shan EAOs are also battling for turf in Kehsi Township in southern Shan State.
On the morning of June 8, about 300 villagers who fled earlier bouts of fighting returned home when the violence in the township seemed like it had subsided. However, fighting erupted the same day and they found themselves back when they started by 7pm. There are about 1,000 staying at Buddhist monasteries in the township.
“People just want to have peace…Now it’s the planting period and it is why they returned to their village. But after hearing gunfire, they had to flee again,” a Buddhist monk said.
There is over 700 IDP staying in Nawng Suam monastery, 74 in Kamatham monastery, 33 in Bawng Oak monastery and 155 in Thuwunna Thiri monastery.