Many passengers returning from Yangon to Sittwe by plane arrested for interrogation

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Scores of passengers returning by plane from Yangon to Sittwe were arrested by police and soldiers at Sittwe airport and taken away for interrogation, according to the families of those detained.

On 19 February, numerous passengers, including youths, were taken away by police and soldiers when they arrived at Sittwe airport at 9am on a flight from Yangon to Sittwe, said a relative of one of the detained youths.

“My nephew was among those arrested. He is from Pauktaw. He took the Mann Yadanarpon flight. He is 18 years old. He was on his way there to sort out some school matters. He is being interrogated since the morning. I heard that the government employees have been released. As of 3pm he had not yet been released. He has not yet contacted us,” said the relative of the detained youth.

A Sittwe resident said the passengers were taken to the Lawka Nandar Pagoda religious community hall in Sittwe for interrogation.

“As far as I know, they are from the five flights that arrived today and apparently had many people on board. I have heard that about 200 people are still being held. They are being interrogated in the religious community hall of Lawka Nandar Pagoda. I don’t know why,” said the resident.

According to some reports, those detained were checked for their census copies and asked about their villages or residential addresses, while some have already been released. There were also reports of demands for money.

A local government employee from Sittwe said, “I think they are checking (the flights) to see if there are any Arakan Army (AA) members among the passengers coming from Yangon. I heard that they release those who can give their addresses accurately. We don’t know for sure.”

An estimated 200 people were reportedly detained as of the evening of 19 February and had not yet been released, leaving their families worried.

Also at around 5pm on 18 February, military council soldiers and Director General of the General Administration Department took 67 people from a Myanmar National Airlines flight from Yangon to Kyaukphyu in vehicles, including a Dyna, to the city hall for interrogation, according to the reports.

Sent by Narinjara.

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