New Delhi on Tuesday confirmed, it has secured the release of five of its nationals and five Myanmar nationals from the rebels. However, one Indian national died in the custody of the insurgents due to a heart attack.
The released Indians and the body of the deceased are on the way back to India, said the Home Ministry spokesman. The abducted Indians were engaged in building a road project in that country.
“Unfortunately, one of the Indian nationals died in the custody of the Arakan Army due to a heart attack. According to information available, he was a chronic diabetes patient. The released Indian nationals, along with the dead body of the deceased, have reached Sittwe and will be leaving for Yangon today for the onward journey to India,” said a spokesperson of India’s Federal Home Ministry.
The spokesperson said these five Indians along with a member of Myanmar Parliament, two local transporters and two speedboat operators were abducted on their way back from Paletwa in Chin State to Kyauktaw in Rakhine state on Sunday 03 November.
The Arakan Army, an insurgent group, based in Rakhine state in Myanmar along the Bangladesh border, is the armed wing of the United League of Arakan, lead by a former army officer. Their stated objective is to ‘protect Arakan people and establish peace, justice, freedom and development.’ According to some reports, the group has a strength of 10,000 with a huge support base in Rakhine State.
This is the first time the rebels captured foreign workers in the resource-rich region, which has taken up several infrastructure projects linking India and Myanmar.
India is constructing two sections of the 1400-kilometre long India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway in a bid to boost trade ties with countries in the east.