Abbot detained in monastery raid

Sep 5, 2008 (DVB), The abbot of Marlayon monastery in Than Lyin township's Bogyoke village is being held after a raid on the monastery earlier today, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

In a statement released today, the AAPP said a group of around 23 people, assumed to be government officials in civilian clothing, arrived at the monastery at 2am in three trucks owned by the township Peace and Development Council.

They ordered the monks to lie on the ground and keep their faces down while they spent around 40 minutes searching the monastery.

The group then left, taking with them monastery abbot U Thila Wuntha, 58, who is in charge of the 17 monks who live in the monastery, and warned the remaining monks not to leave the monastery compound.

Police stations in Bogyoke village and Than Lyin denied involvement in the raid and arrest.

Local residents said that the monastery had been close watch by unidentified people who they believed to be government spies.

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