Mahamuni Temple Trustees Face Detention after Army Wireless Set Missing

Narinjara News, Feb 24, 2006

Arakan, Myanmar -- Trustees from Mahamuni temple, a historic Buddhist temple in Arakan, in Kyauktaw Township, are now facing the threat of detention after an army wireless set went missing inside the temple on 22 February 2006, said a son of a pagoda trustee in Kyauktaw.

A wireless set from an army column of Light Infantry Battalion No. 376, which is charged with guarding the temple, has been missing since the night of the 22nd after the wireless officer was away from his post while drinking in a nearby village.

The wireless officer, Lance-Corporal Aung Min, has complained about the incident to Major Aye Lwin, acting commander of LIB-376, but the wireless set remains missing.

Major Aye Lwin, accompanied by Kyauktaw Township police officers, came to Mahamuni temple to question the temple trustees and army personnel about the incident.

The army officer ordered that the trustees are not to be allowed to go outside from the temple, as he may accuse the trustees of being the culprit and they may be arrested by the army if such is the case.

Army personnel are looking for the wireless set in nearby villages and are asking questions to villagers regarding the incident. Some villagers have been beaten by the army over the incident.

Another villager's source said that on that night, Lance-Corporal Aung Min had been drinking with other army personnel, including Corporal Zaw Naing Myo, Lance-Corporal Naing Oo and U Hla Thein, in Thrata Pin Village. During that time, Corporal Aung Min quarreled with the other corporals and left the drinking table for his wife's village of Landmadaw.

The source reported that it is possible that another army corporal concealed the wireless set in an isolated area out of retaliation against Corporal Aung Min.