Myanmar Resistance Group Apologizes for Killing Two Civilians in Bungled Hit

By The Irrawaddy 25 August 2022

A Mandalay resistance group has publicly apologized after mistakenly killing a married couple instead of a Myanmar junta police officer.

The killings came two days after a family was killed by another resistance group in Saw Township, Magwe Region, on Sunday.

On Tuesday morning, Ko Sithu Ko Ko and his wife Ma Hnin Wai Hlaing were shot dead by the Tiger Force Mandalay (TFM) in Mandalay on a motorbike after dropping their daughter at school.

TFM claimed responsibility but residents reported that the victims had no links to the regime.

On Wednesday, TFM released a statement admitting that it mistakenly killed the couple instead of Police Major Soe Ko Ko from Mandalay’s Criminal Investigation Department.

The group said its scouting team made an error in confirming the identity of the target and was responsible for the killings.

The TFM apologized to the public and victims’ families, promising to accept any punishment in a future criminal prosecution under a civilian government.

On Sunday, the Yaw Defense Force (YDF) killed six members of a family in Saw Township, Magwe Region, alleging that some of the victims belonged to a pro-junta Pyu Saw Htee militia.

Among the victims were the homeowner U Khin Maung Lin, his wife, their daughter-in-law, their 13-year-old granddaughter and U Khin Maung Lin’s brother.

Some valuables were stolen from the house.

Within hours, residents and six other resistance groups condemned the attack, calling it a murder, robbery, dictatorial act and an abuse of power by an armed group.

Amid the criticism, the YDF released a statement saying it will investigate the case.

The civilian National Unity Government (NUG) has also opened a probe and told the YDF to cooperate, U Naing Htoo Aung, secretary of the NUG’s defense ministry, told The Irrawaddy.

The YDF, which operates in Saw, Hteelin and Gangaw townships, is not under the ministry’s command.

The resistance group was accused of killing two innocent people from Saw in April. The YDF said the victims were junta informants.

The shadow defense ministry has received complaints accusing the Yinmabin People’s Defense Force (PDF), led by Bo Thanmani in Yinmabin Township, Sagaing Region, of killing 21 people in five cases, along with abductions and robberies.

Bo Thanmani has subsequently admitted committing war crimes.

The ministry’s code of conduct released in September last year prohibits resistance groups from torturing or killing prisoners of war.