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Chin Human Rights Organization
50 Bell St. N # 2
Ottawa, On K1R 7C7, Canada
Tel/Fax: 613 234 2485 Email: chokhlei@xxxxxxxxxxx

Two Pastors arrested in Thantlang, Chin State

Chin Human Rights Organization CHRO received the following report on  20th 
September 1999 from reliable source.

On 26 June, 1999, a soldier of the 266 Light Infantry Battalion led by 2nd 
Lieutenant Myo Kyaw, deserted his unit, near Tlangpi village. The villagers 
of Tlangpi and of Farrawn, which is one of its neighboring villages, were in 
no way responsible for his defection, but the chairmen of these villages and 
other neighboring villages were arrested, taken to Hakha, and severely 
tortured, for it. The chairman of Tlangpi village was given a twelve year 
sentence with rigorous imprisonment and the others also two to three year 
sentences, with rigorous imprisonment

All the chairmen of the villages in Zahnak Tlang area of the Thantlng 
Township, Chin State viz. of Lungler, Bungkhua, Dawn, Ralpel, Saikah, 
Fungkah, Thangzang, Sihhmuh, Ruabuk, Ruakhua, have also been arrested by the 
same Battalion.

Also all the chairmen of the "yatkwets" ( block ) in Thantlang Town, viz Pu 
No Lal Ling of School "Yatkwet", Pu Van Hnun of Market "Yatkwet", and Pu Ceu 
Hnin of TABC "Yatkwet", have been arrested and tortured, and one of them, 
viz Pu Ceu Hnin of TABC "Yatkwet" was so severely tortured that all his 
front teeth were knocked out. A good civilian in Thantlang town, by the name 
of Al Bik, was also arrested, taken to the Camp of the Military Intelligence 
at Rung Tlang in Hakha, and has been kept in isolation, allowing no body to 
see him.

All these arrests were allegedly made on the flimsy evidence that they were 
in sympathy with the Chin National Front CNF.

When all these arrests and atrocities were taking place, the senior pastor 
of the Thantlang Baptist Church, the Rev. Biak Kam, who is over 60 years of 
age, and the General Secretary of the Thantlang Association of Baptist 
Churches, the Rev. Thawng Kam, called a meeting as to how to negotiate with 
the military authorities in charge of the area and to make a request for 
their release. But before they could meet with the military authority, the 
military authority have them also arrested at night on September 7, 1999, 
accusing them of calling a meeting without their knowledge or permission. 
They were sent away hastily and secretly by night the same night, on foot,30 
miles away, to the Military Out Post in Lungler village. They have been kept 
there. Nothing has been heard about them, as no one was allowed to see them; 
hopefully they were not tortured. These two Baptist pastors were almost 
arrested once at the time of the problem which arose out of matters related 
to erecting a cross on a hill west of Thantlang in January 1999 and it could 
very well be that they were secretly observed and shadowed.

Thantlang Baptist Church is the biggest church in Thantlang Township with a 
membership of over 1500 and Thantlang Association of Baptist Churches (TABC) 
is a fullfledge association, with a membership of 44 village churches, under 
the Zomi Baptist Convention, which in turn is a fullfledge convention under 
the Myanmar Baptist Convention, which is a national convention of all the 
Baptist Churches in Burma.

There is a great fear that all of them would be tortured and their lives be 
in danger of death. All the men in Thantlang town have evacuated for fear of 
being arrested by the military.

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