Burma

Four Ethnic Fighters Jailed for 35 Years for Attack on Myanmar Military’s Defense Academy

By Myat Pyae Phyo 10 August 2020

MANDALAY—Pyin Oo Lwin District Court in Mandalay Region has sentenced four people to 35 years in prison for last year’s attacks on the Myanmar military’s Defense Services Technological Academy (DSTA) and other locations in the garrison town of Pyin Oo Lwin.

“They were given 20 years in prison for the attack on the DSTA, and 15 years for the attack on a toll gate, totaling 35 years,” a court official told The Irrawaddy on Friday.

A military alliance of three ethnic armed groups—the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), Arakan Army (AA) and Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), which dubbed themselves the Brotherhood Alliance—carried out a series of organized attacks at around 5.30 a.m. on Aug. 15 last year on the DSTA and three other locations in Pyin Oo Lwin and its surroundings, including a tollgate installed with an X-ray machine to prevent drug trafficking.

At the time, TNLA spokesman Mai Aik Kyaw claimed responsibility for the attacks on behalf of the Brotherhood Alliance, confirming to The Irrawaddy that the assaults were carried out by the group as a counteroffensive against the Myanmar military in order to reduce military pressure in their regions.

In the attack on the DSTA, a civilian was killed and a soldier and his relative were wounded, while some vehicles and the academy building were partly damaged. Parts of the tollgate in Pyin Oo Lwin as well as vehicles and equipment were also damaged in artillery strikes by the four attackers, the Myanmar military said.

The Myanmar military arrested a total of eight suspects some two months after the attacks and police opened cases against them under the Counterterrorism Law. After the trial, which lasted for nearly a year, the court sentenced the four to prison and acquitted four others.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko

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