Armed Group Soldier Involved in Shan State Shooting Dies From Knife Wounds

By Lawi Weng 17 December 2018

Mon State — The Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) says one of its soldiers involved in a shooting on Tuesday in southern Shan State that left at least four ethnic Pa-O people dead has died from his wounds.

Colonel Sai Oo, a spokesman for the RCSS, said the soldier had been stabbed in the head and died on Thursday.

“He had two wounds on his head. He was very seriously wounded with a knife. He died because we could not treat him anymore,” he told The Irrawaddy on Monday.

He said a second wounded soldier was still being treated.

The RCSS says the two soldiers were attacked by a group of Pa-O they had stopped in Loilem Township because they were members of another armed group in the area and suspected that one of them was a spy for the Myanmar military. It says the soldiers fired in self-defense, killing four people.

The Pa-O National Liberation Organization (PNLO) claims that the Pa-O were civilians searching for a new water source for their village when the RCSS soldiers detained them. It says other Pa-O from the village — Seng Ngum, also known as Namp Hu — came to demand their release and that the RCSS soldiers fatally shot five of them and wounded three others.

In a statement on Wednesday, the PNLO condemned the RCSS and accused it of “arbitrarily arresting, killing and injuring people.” Another group, the Union Pa-O National Organization, condemned the RCSS in a statement of its own on Friday and warned that the shootings could stoke communal tensions.

They appear to have done so already. Locals said tensions between the area’s Pa-O and Shan communities have been high since the shootings. Angry comments have been flying back and forth on Facebook.

Thousands of locals attended the funerals of the fatally shot Pa-O in Loilem on Thursday.

Col. Sai Oo said the RCSS was open to a request from Pa-O leaders to jointly investigate Tuesday’s violence but added that they had yet to make arrangements to do so.

The RCSS wants autonomy for Shan State. But unless they make peace with the state’s other ethnic groups, they will fail, said Khun Kyaw Win, a Pa-O community leader.

“Whenever there is a problem in the area or the situation is unstable, local people always have to suffer for it,” he said.