Kachin IDP Woman Found Dead in Apparent Murder

By Lawi Weng 10 July 2019

An ethnic Kachin woman in Kutkai, in northern Shan State, appears to have been brutally murdered at her home on July 4, local sources say.

Nan Htang, 51, was a Kachin internally displaced person (IDP) that had recently left her own village amid conflict in Kutkai Township.

A joint statement issued today by 40 rights groups in Northern Shan State condemned the killing, saying her death could hinder the chances of other Kachin IDPs in the Namphaka IDP camps from returning home.

Nan Htang was alone at her home when she was apparently murdered on the night of July 4, according to Hkawng Nan, a spokesperson for the rights groups.

Hkwang Nan said the dead body was found on the floor rather than the bed. She said she reported the death to the police and asked them to investigate it as a murder.

“She was wounded on her head, her jawbone was broken, her neck had a black bruise on it and her hand was wounded too,” Hkwang Nan said.

A small piece of wood and some pieces of rope were seen near the body, suggesting murder to Hkwang Nan, but no one knows exactly what happened or who would have murdered her, she said.

“This act of killing lacks humanity,” the rights groups, who also called for a murder investigation into the death, said in their joint statement.

When fighting first broke out, after a ceasefire agreement between the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the Myanmar military collapsed in 2011, Nan Htang and her family had to flee their village.

Her family continued to stay at an IDP camp in Namphaka, but she traveled to and from her village to trade goods to provide for the rest of her family.

The Myanmar military (or Tatmadaw), the KIA and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army are active near her home village.

The day before she was murdered, she and her sister-in-law worked and had dinner together.

The sister-in-law told Hkwang Nan that, on the night Nan Htang was killed, two Tatmadaw soldiers came to buy tea salad and borrow a solar panel from her at her home. Later, they returned to sell their cell phones to her. Later still, around 8:30 p.m., they came back to return the solar panel.

Her relatives say Khwang Nan had about 2 million kyats and speculate she may have been killed in a robbery.

U Than Zaw Oo, a police officer in Namphaka, told The Irrawaddy that local police have opened a murder investigation.

“When we recovered her body, we gathered some evidence from her house. We are investigating it to find out who did it,” he said.