Military Hasn’t Released Hpakant Jade Miners

More than forty miners, including women, arrested by the military at a jade mine in Hpakant Township last week are still in custody, while locals say the soldiers have demanded a ransom for their release.

“They’re all being held at the Myanmar Thura Jade mining company compound in Nam Maphyit and I don’t want to know why the army won’t release them,” said a local on condition of anonymity.

Soldiers abducted them from Mawsisar village in Lon Khin village tract, Kachin State, at 4pm on 15 February. Locals saw the army arrest 30 people, including 5 women, from Aung Thaya ward 1 and 13 workers from the Min Naing Soe Jade mining company, while the others are unofficial workers who search the mines for leftovers.

After security was tightened in the township, soldiers stop everyone at checkpoints to inspect them. Arrests have increased, as have beatings of prisoners by soldiers.

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