Police Open Case Against Army Battalion in Kachin IDP Deaths

By Lawi Weng 5 June 2017

RANGOON — The Mansi Township police have opened a case against Battalion 319 of the Burma Army, after its soldiers were accused of killing three internally displaced ethnic Kachin men in Mai Hkawng village, Kachin State.

“We opened charges against them for murder—Article 302 [of the penal code],” police officer Aung Kyaw Soe Win told The Irrawaddy on Monday.

He said it could not yet be confirmed how many members of the battalion might have been involved in the deaths.

The Burma Army is holding its own military investigation, according to the Office of the Commander-in-Chief, Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing. After the investigation is completed, they will allegedly hand over the soldiers in question to the police.

“The police will do a press conference when we know more about it,” Aung Kyaw Soe Win said.

Nhkum Gam Awng, 31, Maran Brang Seng, 22, and Labya Naw Hkum, 27, from Mai Hkawng internally displaced persons (IDP) camp, were reportedly arrested by Battalion 319 on May 25 near Hka Pra Yang village, about three miles away, while they were collecting firewood, according to camp officials and community elders. Their maimed bodies were found on May 28, with the victims having sustained skull fractures and knife wounds, according to a post-mortem report.

Camp officials and the victims’ family members hope to prosecute those responsible for the murders in a civilian court, a member of the Kachin Baptist Convention told The Irrawaddy when the story broke in late May.