The Irrawaddy

Army Chief Denies Military Involvement in Murder of Two Kachin Teachers

NAYPYITAW — Myanmar Army Chief Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing claims that the army had nothing to do with the rape and murder of two volunteer teachers more than three years ago in Muse District in northern Shan State and blames the Kachin Independence Army (KIA).

In a meeting with the Myanmar Press Council in Naypyitaw on Thursday, the army chief denied accusations that the two Kachin teachers were raped and killed by Myanmar Army soldiers.

“[The army chief said that] a thorough investigation was conducted and it was found that two KIA members killed them and that it had nothing to do with the Tatmadaw (Myanmar Army),” said vice chairman of the press council U Ohn Kyaing.

The army chief also rejected other accusations against the Tatmadaw and said that it has strong evidence against those accusations, said U Ohn Kyaing.

Two ethnic Kachin teachers, Maran Lu Ra and Tangbau Hkawn Nan Tsin, who were both 20-year-old volunteers working with the Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC), were raped and killed in Kutkai’s Kaung Kha village on Jan. 19, 2015.

Local residents accused the Tatmadaw, as Kaung Kha was occupied by soldiers from the Myanmar Army Infantry Battalion 503 at the time of the murders.

It is impossible that KIA troops came into the village occupied by the Myanmar Army and raped and killed the girls, said Hkali, of the KBC.

“How could KIA troops enter the village and rape and kill the women while the army battalion was stationed there. The police investigation seemingly has ceased. The perpetrators still can’t be identified, but everyone knows who they are,” said Hkali, adding that the KBC would cooperate with the Shan State Lawyers Network to get justice for the women.

Locals have staged protests and the Myanmar Women’s Network, Kachin Peace Network, Women’s League of Burma and 88 Generation Peace and Open Society have issued joint statements, demanding justice for the two teachers.

An investigation commission consisting of police, a people’s militia and KBC priests was formed to investigate the murder.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.