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Dhaka Tribune

Myanmar group denies kidnapping Bangladeshi tourists

Update : 27 Oct 2015, 07:16 PM

Myanmar's Rakhine-based armed group Arakan Liberation Party (ALP) has rejected accusations that it had kidnapped three Bangladeshi tourists for ransom.

The organisation said that the allegations were designed to destroy its image, according to a report published on the Myanmar Times on Monday.

The ALP is the only Rakhine ethnic organisation that signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement with the Myanmar government earlier this month.

The two tourists – Dhaka University student Abdullah Al Zubair and his friend Zakir Hossain Munna – and their guide Mangsai Mro went missing on October 3. They were visiting Boga Lake in Ruma of Bandarban.

Later the brother of Mongsai Mro claimed that he had received a call from ALP leaders demanding Tk50 lakh as ransom to free the trio. He also said that the detainees had been kept in a deep forest.

However, during a visit to ALP leaders in the forest, Mongsai's brother and four others learned that the separatist group had not captured the trio. The five were later detained by the joint forces for interrogation.

The joint forces also conducted several raids in the area to rescue the tourists and the guide.

“This allegation is intended to destroy our party’s image,” Daw Saw Mya Yarzar Lin, vice-chair of the ALP, said.

U Khine Aungsan Phyu, a member of the ALP, told the Myanmar Times that many armed groups had been active in the area, including some local groups. “We heard that the Rohingya Solidarity Organisation was based there. We did not kidnap these people and have made no demands for their release,” he claimed.

The ALP said it had repelled an attack by the Bangladesh Army on October 15. In a further clash on October 18 near Paletwa township, Chin State, two soldiers from each side were reportedly killed in what may have been an abortive attempt to rescue the three kidnap victims.

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