Shan group demands release of detained civilians in letter to Myanmar President

| Updated: Aug 23, 2017 11:20 IST

Naypyidaw, July 7 (ANI): The Shan State Progress Party (SSPP), an ethnic armed group, has sent a letter to Myanmar President Htin Kyaw and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi demanding the immediate release of eight civilians and 23 troop members detained by the Tatmadaw. The eight arrested villagers from Theinni township in northern Shan State were accused of aiding the SSPP and a case was filed against them under the Unlawful Association Act on June 2. Tatmadaw soldiers had alleged that the villagers were seen carrying out an order given by the SSPP to collect data about the number of households, villagers and businesses in Pan Son village. A police officer from Theinni township, report the Myanmar Times. The villagers had been sent to Lashio Prison. In their letter, the SSPP also stated that they are disappointed that arrests continue to take place, hampering attempts to move the country toward peace. "We are working together for peace and national reconciliation, but this kind of behaviour (by the Tatmadaw) destroys trust. We ask the president and Daw Aung San Su Kyi to release them in the name of the peace process and national reconciliation," said Colonel Sai Phone Han, a spokesperson for the SSPP. According to SSPP spokesperson, the letter, dated June 26 was also sent to Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, head of the Northeastern Command Major General Phone Myat, Senior General Yar Pyae and Shan Nationalities League for Democracy chair U Khun Htun Oo. However, President's Office Director U Zaw Htay denied receiving any such letter. The SSPP spokesperson also added that they had released Tatmadaw soldiers who had been detained during clashes, including one colonel, two warrant officers, one sergeant, two corporals, one lance corporal and two privates.(ANI)