YANGON—A group of armed men on Wednesday robbed a house in Namhkam, in the Muse District of northern Shan State, according to CCTV footage and relatives of the victims, who claim the alleged thieves belong to the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA).
A group of six men in plainclothes came by motorbike to U Soe Thu’s home in No. 14 Ward of Namhkam on Wednesday afternoon.
“They handcuffed the two men in the house” U Soe Thu’s sister told The Irrawaddy. “We had five or six toddlers and children at the time in the house. Three or four women were hiding on the upper floor. The robbers took money and gold.”
Robbers took two gold necklaces, 6.5 million kyats, 2,000 yuan and a mobile phone, said U Soe Thu, who says he was not at home when the robbery began.
When he returned home, he noticed a gunman keeping guard for his accomplices. U Soe Thu then contacted the police and people’s militia.
The arrival of the people’s militia prompted an exchange of fire before the suspects fled.
“The militia could not shoot freely because we were inside the house, but the robbers shot around seven or eight times,” U Soe Thu’s sister said.
The victims say the suspects spoke Palaung, the Burmese word for Ta’ang, and claim they were the same persons who abducted one of their relatives about 10 days ago. They accused the group of being TNLA members.
Brigadier-General Tar Bone Kyaw, general secretary of the TNLA, told The Irrawaddy he is starting an investigation in response to the allegation.
“There are many armed groups as well as militia groups at the Namhkam-Muse border [area], and many Ta’ang people are in those groups,” he said in response to the claim that the suspects spoke Palaung.
The TNLA is a non-signatory to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) and currently clashes with the the Myanmar Army, or Tatmadaw.
“They were in plain clothes, so it is difficult to identify them, but we are also making an investigation to see if it was done by our members or not,” he added.
The victims have opened a robbery case with the Namhkam police.