Civilian Shot Dead in Clash With Soldier in Kachin State

By Nang Seng Nom 25 August 2015

RANGOON — A civilian was fatally shot in an altercation with a soldier near Nentein village on the road linking Mogaung and Hpakant in Kachin State over the weekend.

Burma Army personnel providing security on the road were directing vehicles in an attempt to alleviate traffic congestion along the route on Saturday afternoon when the victim attempted to bypass the queuing vehicles, provoking a confrontation between the man and a soldier on duty. According to a police officer from Lone Khin police station, the driver was killed when the soldier drew his firearm, which unintentionally discharged.

“We have filed a case against the soldier with the charge of negligent homicide. And now we are investigating the drivers and military men who were present at the scene,” the police officer told The Irrawaddy on condition of anonymity.

Lwin Maung Maung, a relative of the 22-year-old victim Yadanar Tun, said other drivers who witnessed the incident told him that the soldier was a lance corporal from No. 421 Light Infantry Battalion who first punched the victim. When the victim attempted to fight back, the lance corporal shot him, Lwin Maung Maung said witnesses told him.

“I heard that police are still holding in custody a driver and a bus conductor who witnessed the crime for fear that the information might leak out,” Lwin Maung Maung told The Irrawaddy.

A funeral service for the victim was held on Monday. Lwin Maung Maung also claimed that police seized mobile phones from passersby who had taken photos or video of the crime scene.

A truck driver who plies the Mogaung-Hpakant road questioned the soldier’s conduct in firing a fatal shot at an unarmed civilian.

“It was a fight between a civilian and a soldier, and [the soldier] should not have taken it that far,” he told The Irrawaddy on condition of anonymity. “There are many parts of the body that can be shot—arms and thighs can be shot. They [such gunshot wounds] can be treated.”