Myanmar-India border trade has stalled after two men from India were gunned down on Tuesday by pro-junta Pyu Saw Htee militia close to the Myanmar-India frontier in Sagaing Region’s Tamu Township.
The two Tamil men, aged 28 and 38, were shot and killed near Tamu Town on Tuesday afternoon while on their way to a friend’s birthday party, according to the Tamu People’s Defense Force (PDF).
They were killed near Hae Zin Village, where Pyu Saw Htee militia are based, while riding on a motorbike. The men were chased and shot after refusing to stop for the Pyu Saw Htee militia men out of fear of what might happen to them, a spokesperson for Tamu PDF told The Irrawaddy.
“The men died on the spot after each being shot three times by the Pyu Saw Htee,” added the spokesperson.
Both the men were from Moreh, a border town in India’s Manipur State that sits opposite Tamu Town. The men were traders and also operated a currency exchange.
The Tamu-Moreh border crossing is the main channel for Myanmar goods going to India.
Almost 70 per cent of Tamu residents rely on the Tamu-Moreh border trade, with many crossing the frontier daily. Many Moreh residents cross daily into Tamu, too.
But since Tuesday’s shootings, Myanmar traders and vendors are too scared to cross the border, a Tamu trader told The Irrawaddy.
“Currently no one dares to go to Moreh because India people are very angry after hearing the news of the killings. People think they will beaten or shot if they go there.”
On Wednesday morning, nearly 200 Tamil people gathered on a football pitch on the Indian side of the border demanding revenge for the killing of the two men.
“We will be in trouble until this problem can be solved,” said a Tamu trader.
Republic News India, an online newspaper in India, reported that the men were gunned down by militia formed by the Myanmar military, naming the Pyu Saw Htee as being responsible for the killings.
The Indian army is trying to establish contact with Myanmar junta forces to retrieve the men’s bodies and ascertain why they were killed.