Chin Pastor Abducted in Myanmar Released
Christian Member of Parliament Still Detained
11/21/2019 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Pastor U Maung Maung, who was abducted last month along with 57 others by the Arakan Army (AA) in Rakhine State, Myanmar, was released on November 5.
The pastor from the Chin ethnic group, a minority group in Rakhine State that is primarily Christian, was abducted on October 26 while he was travelling with his wife and his infant on a boat between Sittwe and Buthidaung. While his wife and sick daughter were allowed to leave, the male passengers were kept by the AA.
A local pastor who requested to remain anonymous told ICC that although Pastor U Maung Maung was released, “AA threatens that if he dares to share any information to the government with regards to what happened to him during his abduction, they will make his life very difficult; his family can face danger as well.”
“AA said they will come and arrest him if he releases any information,” another pastor added. “He wasn’t tortured that much, but he is traumatized.”
The news of his abduction and release is well noted among pastors in the region. Some in the mission field have already stepped back in fear of the Arakan Army.
Meanwhile, a Christian parliamentarian, U Hawi Tin, who is also from the Chin ethnic group, was abducted on November 3 and has been missing ever since. The AA stopped two passenger ferries traveling on the Kaladan River in western Myanmar and took all 10 occupants into custody. One Indian national died in custody and eight other passengers were released. U Hawi Tin was held for further interrogation.
According to Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO), the upper house lawmaker, representing Chin State constituency No.11 from the ruling National League for Democracy Party (NLD), has been cut off from contact with both his family and the public.
Twenty-two international NGOs joined CHRO on November 18 to urge the AA to immediately and unconditionally release U Hawi Tin and any other civilians who may still be detained.
Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager for Southeast Asia, said, “We ask for prayers for Pastor U Maung Maung as he recovers from this traumatic experience, while having the wisdom to deal with the situation when he faces dilemmas with the AA and the government’s investigation. We also urge the AA to safely return U Hawi Tin as soon as possible.”