Burma army releases 14 civilians arrested at 5-Mile checkpoint in Bhamo Township

The Burma army has released 14 civilians who were arrested on 18 February at the 5-Mile military checkpoint in Sehel village on the outskirts of Bhamo town.

At the time of their arrest these 14 people, who are from in Pan Tai village in Mansi Township, were fleeing for safety following armed clashes near Jehkam village in Mansi Township. The clashes broke out when the KIA and PDF soldiers attacked the Burma army’s Jehkam strategic camp.

All 14 people had been working at a gold mining operation near Jehkam village. The owner of the mining operation, 44-year-old U Win Maw, who is the son-in-law of a former Burma army soldier, was among the 14 people arrested. U Win Maw’s father-in-law reportedly requested military officials to release the group.

At the same time, other people were also calling for their release. Some of the IDPs living in the Theindawgyi IDP camp in Bhamo town demanded the release the arrested villagers when the Kachin State Chief Minister was visiting the IDP camp.

“The Kachin State Chief Minister was visiting the Theindawgyi IDP camp, so some IDPs there demanded that those detained villagers be freed,” a local man told KNG.

An IDP told KNG that Burma army soldiers have detained nearly 50 IDPs at the 5-mile military checkpoint after they fled the clashes in Mansi Township. KNG could not independently confirm the number of detained people.

After the military council activated the National Conscription Law on 10 February, Burma army soldiers began to arrest travelers at the 5-mile military checkpoint. On 17 February, Burma army soldiers arrested 27-year-old Maung Tha Hein, originally from Arakan State, at the 5-mile military checkpoint.

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