October 24th, 2011
Min Thuta – An armed group that has kidnapped and is holding workers from a road construction company in Kamawet Village, Mudon Township, Mon State, has demanded one million kyat per person in order to release the abductees, a source close to the kidnapped workers said.
The kidnapping of the four construction workers occurred on 21 October. “One worker has been released, and they [the armed group] told him to announce one million kyat per worker would need to be paid for the others’ release. The other three still remain in the forest”, the anonymous source said.
The armed group entered the construction camp of the AK Family Construction Company, Ltd., which has the BOT contract for the Moulmein-Ye-Malae Taung road in southern Mon State, and kidnapped four workers just after 5 am on 21 October.
While entering the construction camp, members of the armed group burnt several vehicles and an office building while they were shooting, according to local residents.
The released worker was questioned at the Kamawet Police Station following his release.
According to a rubber plantation owner from Kamawet, “One armed group asked for money around the village before the Kamawet pagoda festival. Some plantation owners already paid.” The Kamawet pagoda festival was 18–20 October.
Similarly, one worker from AK Construction was kidnapped on 11 July by Nai Than Lwin’s armed group with the demand of 15 million kyat for his release. AK Construction Company received the contract to maintain and develop a 112-mile-long section of the Moulmein-Ye-Malae Taung road from the government on 16 March 2011.
AK Construction workers stopped their work on the road during the rainy season, but they still collected tax, said travelers.
The observers noted that these extortions and kidnappings are occurring since the break down of the ceasefire between the Burmese government and the New Mon State Party (NMSP).
An officer of the NMSP said that the Moulmein District office of the NMSP is still investigating the occurrence.
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