Kachin Group Accuses Myanmar Army of Beating Two Men Suspected of Rebel Ties

By Lawi Weng 27 November 2018

Mon State — The Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) is accusing the Myanmar Army of torturing two ethnic Kachin men detained on their way to a football match on Monday in Shan State after suspecting them of ties to a rebel group.

Khun Zaw Taung, 40, and Zaw Wong, 25, both residents of a camp in Kutkai Township for people displaced by the country’s civil war, were stopped by the army while traveling by motorbike to Mann Bein Village to join a football match organized by the KBC, said Bawk Tawng, a senior member of the convention and a camp leader.

She said the soldiers, from Infantry Battalion 45, detained them after finding a video on Khun Zaw Taung’s phone of him dancing in a group with members of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA).

“They accused him of being a member of the KIA,” she said. “They beat him and forced him to admit he was a member of the KIA…. They [the soldiers] covered their eyes with some clothes and beat them with sticks.”

She said Khun Zaw Tuang was badly wounded on the head and legs after first denying the accusation, and that Zaw Wong was beaten on the legs to make him implicate his companion.

The KBC reported their detention to township authorities, who convinced the soldiers to release them later the same day.

General Htun Htun Nyi, a spokesman for the Myanmar Army, said he did not know about the case.

Fighting between ethnic armed groups in northern Shan State, and often between them and the Myanmar Army, has displaced thousands of people over the years. Many civilians have been killed, wounded or detained on suspicion of being armed group members.

At least five people were killed in November and October amid fighting between the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS), the Shan State Progress Party (SSPP) and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army.

Three people, including an 8-year-old boy, were killed in Hsipaw Township last week during fighting between the RCSS and SSPP. Rights groups condemned them both for fighting in inhabited villages.