NLD Demands AA Release Detained Electoral Candidates

Saturday, October 24, 2020

The ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) has said that the arrest of three of the party’s electoral candidates in Rakhine State by the Arakan Army (AA) would impact peace in the country and called for their immediate release.

On October 19, the AA released a statement declaring that they had detained three NLD candidates and promised to release them if the NLD released other political prisoners, including Rakhine students, demonstrators and politicians. The NLD responded on October 21, saying that the AA had made “one-sided accusations,” and asking that their candidates be freed.

“The actions of AA are likely to impact the implementation of the peace process in the future,” the NLD’s statement said.

The AA has largely been excluded from the country’s peace process, and has been labeled a “terrorist organization” by the NLD government.

The three candidates are Min Aung, Ni Ni May Myint, and Chit Chit Chaw. They are running for seats in the state parliament, Loewr House and Upper House, respectively, in Taung Gok Township.

The AA detained them on October 14 as they were campaigning in Hpoung Hka village in Taung Gok.

Political analyst Maung Maung Soe said that stakeholders need to sign a ceasefire so that the conflict can deescalate.

“The NLD government announced the AA as a terrorist group and honored the Burma Army last March. Therefore, [the AA] responded strongly to this. The situation is getting worse,” he explained, adding that both sides were practicing “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”

In addition, the AA troops arrested Hwei Tin, an NLD parliamentarian, between Paletwa and Kyauktaw townships on November 3, 2019 while he was on his way to attend a meeting in Naypyidaw. They detained him for more than two months, releasing him on January 21, 2020.