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Picture: 123RF
Picture: 123RF

Kuala Lumpur — Malaysian police said on Tuesday they had opened an investigation into the disappearance of a Myanmar democracy activist and her family, who are UN refugee card holders.

Human Rights Watch said Thuzar Maung, 46, her husband and three children, were feared abducted “in a planned operation” on July 4, citing witnesses and CCTV footage at the activist’s home in the Malaysian state of Selangor.

“The Malaysian government should urgently act to locate the family and ensure their safety,” Human Rights Watch Asia director Elaine Pearson said.

Police have opened a missing persons’ inquiry after receiving a report on the family’s disappearance, Selangor police chief Hussein Omar Khan said. He said the investigation would “investigate any element of crime, including kidnapping”.

Malaysia has been an outspoken critic of violence in Myanmar after the military ousted a democratically elected government in February 2021. But it has also been criticised by rights groups for deporting thousands of Myanmar nationals, including military defectors.

Thuzar Maung, who fled Myanmar for Malaysia in 2015 to escape growing violence against Muslims, may have been targeted due to her support for Myanmar’s pro-democracy movement, Human Rights Watch said. It did not identify who might have been responsible.

Thuzar Maung heads the Myanmar Muslim Refugee Community and has 93,000 followers on her Facebook page, where she frequently posts criticism of alleged abuses by Myanmar’s junta.

Myanmar’s embassy in Kuala Lumpur did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

CCTV footage showed a car entering the gated community where the family lived on July 4, Human Rights Watch said. The driver told security guards they were police. The same car and two cars belonging to the family were seen leaving the compound shortly afterwards.

Reuters

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