Soldiers Kill 7 Villagers, Including 3 Children, over Motorbike in Karen State

By Lawi Weng 8 April 2019

Three children were among seven civilians killed when two Myanmar Army soldiers opened fire in Anan Kwin village in Karen State’s Kya-In Seikkyi Township on April 5, according to local sources. The youngest child killed was just 1-and-a-half years old, and one person was wounded in the attack, they said.

The two soldiers were detained by the Myanmar Army (or Tatmadaw) after attempting to flee. The Army said it would prosecute them.

The incident occurred on April 5 when the two soldiers asked two families to let them use a motorbike, but the villagers refused to hand it over.

“The two soldiers came to ask for a motorbike from [the villagers]. They refused, as it was nighttime. [The soldiers] arrived in civilian clothes, carrying guns. So, who would give it to them? They killed everyone when the people refused to give them the motorbike,” said U Tin Myo Oo, a regional lawmaker representing Kya-In Seikkyi Township for the National League for Democracy.

The two soldiers reportedly arrived after midnight. After killing the victims, they took the motorbike and drove away.

“I heard that the two were charged under three articles including Article 302 [for murder],” the lawmaker said.

The two families lived near Light Infantry Battalion 339 based in Anan Kwin village, where they worked as mechanics, repairing motorbikes and cars. They were Muslims, and had lived in the area for a long time.

One of the soldiers was from Light Infantry Battalion 275, a frontline unit. He was arrested on April 6. Another soldier was from LIB 339 based in Anan Kwin village. He was arrested on April 5 at a different location. The two are currently in the custody of the Myanmar Army.

U Tin Myo Oo said he had not yet heard whether the surviving family members would be paid compensation by the Army.

The Irrawaddy tried to reach Colonel Maung Maung Latt, a spokesman for the Army’s Southeast Regional Command based in Moulmein, Mon State, for comment on Monday, but a person answering his phone said the colonel was in a meeting.

On April 6, Col. Maung Maung Latt told the Karen Information Center that the Army would take action against the two soldiers.