KIA releases 60 villagers

13 March 2019
KIA releases 60 villagers
Armed rebels belonging to the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) ethnic group take a cigarette break as they move towards the frontline near Laiza in Kachin State. Photo: Hkun Lat/AFP

The Kachin Independence Army’s (KIA) has released nearly 60 Ta’ang and Lahu ethnic people it had detained in a village in in Myanmar’s northern Shan state in early March, RFA reported.

KIA Battalion No. 8 under the command of Brigade No. 4 detained the 57 sugarcane plantation workers, most of whom were ethnic Ta’ang from Man Phang village, on March 4.

The detainees were let go because the situation on the ground did not allow for them to be properly questioned, according to a KIA statement issued Monday, which did not specify what the soldiers wanted to interrogate them about.

Area residents said they suspected that the KIA detained the workers to force them to become soldiers, but a spokesperson told RFA that the Kachin army’s policy forbids forced recruiting.