By Naung Khaing Aung
Narinjara News: October 17, 2017
Arakanese activist Ko Ann Thar Gyi, who was charged over a football match that authorities say celebrated the Arakan Army, was relocated to Sittwe prison yesterday over security concerns.
Ko Ann Thar Gyi, (a.k.a Than Shwe), chairman of the Thingaha Kann Latt Rakhita group, was charged yesterday under Sections 17 (1) and (2) of the Unlawful Associations Act. He was initially held at Mrauk U police station, but was transferred to Sittwe Prison.
“I love all the organisations in the Rakhine [State]. I don’t differentiate between which organisations I love and which organisations I don’t love. I love all the Arakanse people. That’s why I have been doing social work,” Ko Ann Thar Gyi told the crowd that gathered to greet him outside Sittwe prison.
“Now, I’ve been arrested. I don’t even know what I have been charged with. But no matter what, don’t forget me,” he added.
Ko Ann Thar Gyi was arrested in connection with a fundraising football match dubbed the “Arakan Army Cup”, which was held at in Mrauk U over Thingyan to commemorate the eighth anniversary of the Arakan Army’s founding.
The Arakan Army, which has waged an insurgency against the government since 2015, is also a member of the Northern Alliance, a coalition of armed groups in northern Shan State that includes the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), and Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA).
The other match organisers, Khaing Ni Min and Nanda Thara, abbot of the Mya Tansaung Monastery where the match was held, were arrested and charged last April.