NLD candidates kidnapped in Rakhine

An unidentified armed group has kidnapped three Three National League for Democracy candidates in western Rakhine State.

The victims are State parliamentarian Min Aung, national lower house MP Ni Ni May Myint, and Chit Chit Chaw, a candidate for the upper house, NLD spokesperson Monywa Aung Shin told the Associated Press. The candidates were captured while campaigning in Taungup Township, the report continued. Monywa Aung Shin said the identity of the kidnapers remains unknown.

Rakhine State has been perilous for politicians well before the campaign season. The Arakan Army, as part of its brutal guerrilla campaign against the Myanmar army (Tatmadaw), has taken several government officials hostage since 2018, in addition to many reports of kidnappings, forced labor and executions of ordinary civilians. Yet the identity of the kidnappers remains to be confirmed, and indeed such anonymous attacks and random acts of violence have plagued Rakhine’s political and economic development. In a recent example, a UN-marked vehicle carrying COVID-19 test samples came under fire, resulting in the death of the driver, a WHO employee.

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