Army Brings Case Against Relative of 2 Kachin Villagers Allegedly Killed by Soldiers

By Nan Lwin Hnin Pwint 29 March 2018

YANGON  —The Myanmar Army has opened a case against a female relative of two Kachin men allegedly killed by the army in January in Kachin State’s Mansi Township, under Article 17 (1) of the Unlawful Association Act.

The Myanmar Army has filed a complaint against Kaw Awng, the daughter-in-law of Hpaugan Yaw, one of two men allegedly detained and shot dead by the army in January.

According to Fortify Rights, a non-profit human rights organization based in Southeast Asia, Hpaugan Yaw, 65, and Nhkum Naw San, 35, two villagers from Maing Hkawng, were last seen in the custody of Myanmar Army soldiers on Jan. 31.

The two were reportedly farming in a field near Hkat Pra village when soldiers arrested them.

“Many people in that village are connected with the KIA [Kachin Independence Army]. So, the army opened the case. We are still investigating,” chief of Mansi Township Police Force police major Myo Thant told The Irrawaddy.

A captain from Light Infantry Battalion 602 based in Mansi Township opened the case against Kaw Awng under the Unlawful Association Act, while accusing Hpaugan Yaw and Nhkum Naw San of being KIA members.

According to Fortify Rights, eyewitness saw the two victims being dressed in KIA uniforms on Jan. 31. Families of the two then filed a missing persons report with Mansi Township police station and requested help from the Kachin state chief minister, Northern Command, and the Lower House lawmaker of Mansi Township.

After the disappearance of the two, the army restricted travel on the road linking Hkat Pra and Maing Hkawng villages after 8 p.m.

The bodies of the two victims were found on March 8, and recovered by the Mansi Township administrator, law officer, and medic from the Mansi Township Hospital the following day.

On March 10, Mansi Township police station collected accounts of eyewitnesses and family members of the two victims.

“The Tatmadaw said they had to kill the two because they were at the scene of fighting with guns. And they opened the case under Article 17 (1) to accuse their family members of having connections with the KIA,” said David, who is helping internally displaced persons in the area.

“We will make sure justice is done for the two,” he added.

According to fractures found on their bodies, the two victims appeared to have been severely beaten and had their hands tied, he said. However, the forensic report has not yet been given to family members.

Police Major Myo Thant said that police would be able to proceed with the case of the two victims only after receiving the forensic report.

In January, a military tribunal reportedly sentenced six Myanmar soldiers to 10 years in prison for the murder of three people from the Maing Hkawng camp in May 2017.

The tribunal convicted the soldiers from Myanmar Army Light Infantry Battalion 319 of killing Nhkum Gam Awng, 31, Maran Brang Seng, 22, and Labya Naw Hkum, 27, while the three were gathering firewood in a nearby forest.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.