Khaw Zar Residents Live in Fear Future Kidnappings by Unknown Armed Group

October 16, 2014

Fear of potential kidnappings continues to surround residents of Khaw Zar Sub-Township, Ye Township Mon State, as an unknown armed group was spotted near the village on September 30th. As night falls, villagers do not dare travel outside the village, and lock their houses early in the evening.

Prompting the villagers’ concern is an event that occurred on September 19th, when an unknown Mon armed group kidnapped five Khaw Zar residents and demanded a ransom of 75 million kyat from the villagers in exchange for the victims’ release.

Two hostages were released the next day, while the four remaining victims were not released for nearly a month; the victims were finally returned to their families on October 13th.

Even with Infantry Battalion No. 31 based in the village, Khaw Zar residents do not feel safe, and the village administrator has advised villagers to lock their homes at 7 pm, not to open them any earlier than 5 am.

According to a local Khaw Zar shopkeeper, villagers were “running scared” on September 30th, because they saw the unknown armed group near the village. The group was noticed a few days before the kidnapping occurred.

“The unknown armed group spread the news that they have 18 people remaining on their list to kidnap. The villagers are worried because the unknown armed group did not disclose the names of the potential victims. Our village is heavily distressed because we can’t believe in Infantry Battalion No. 31, or the armed group,” said a member of a Khaw Zar youth group.

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