Sai Se Laing (aka Sai Kyan Aung), manager of the southern branch of the Shanni Literature and Culture Association and vice-chairman of the Shanni Youth Network, was detained by PDF operatives in Sagaing on Jun. 19, the Shanni Youth Network has claimed.
The young man was captured by 20 PDF members while visiting a Buddhist monastery in Mankap village to discuss the teaching of the Shanni language, according to Sai Tun Myint, secretary of the Shanni Literature and Culture Association in Bhamouk township.
“About 20 of them came upstairs in the monastery wearing shoes. They took Sai Se Laing for questioning and did not give a reason for the arrest. He is neither a criminal nor does he use drugs — he is just involved in literature. Even the monk said he should not have been arrested. As far as we know, he does not have any animosity towards anyone. He is actively involved in social work and also took part in the nationwide protests last year. He has no relations to any Shanni armed groups,” the secretary told DVB.
Members of the armed group that carried out the arrest were said to be wearing PDF uniforms — the group behind the man’s abduction is unknown, although local people speculated those involved represented a local PDF based in Bhamouk. DVB was unable to establish if the PDF holds links to the National Unity Government (NUG).
The Shanni Youth Network and other local Shanni literary and culture organizations operating in Bhamouk, Homalin and Indawgyi townships issued statements calling for Sai Se Laing’s release. PDFs in the area are yet to provide information concerning the man’s whereabouts.
Sai Tun Myint warned that if the victim was not released, it could contribute to a raise in ethnic tensions and clashes in the region. He appealed to the NUG to rein in PDFs so that no such incidents befall other members of ethnic groups.