State Counselor’s Office to Probe Allegations of Army Abuse in Viral Video

By Nyein Nyein 31 May 2017

The Office of State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said in a statement on Wednesday that it had set up a probe into Burma Army abuses depicted in a video that went viral on Facebook over the weekend.

In the 17-minute video posted online on May 27, four civilians are shown being accused by Burma Army soldiers of belonging to the ethnic rebel group the Ta’ang Nationalities Liberation Army (TNLA) and appear to be subsequently tortured by a group of military men.

The TNLA told The Irrawaddy on Tuesday that the incident occurred in northern Shan State’s Kutkai Township in 2015, when one of its soldiers and other civilians were arrested and tortured. Rights groups have also called for a probe into the alleged abuses.

The State Counselor’s Office reiterated that the Burmese government respects human rights and pledged to investigate any allegations of violations of these rights; if such investigations prove the allegations to be true, the Office said it would take action in accordance with current laws.

When The Irrawaddy contacted Burmese government spokesperson U Zaw Htay and questioned how long the inquiry would take, he told the reporter to instead contact a Burma Army spokesperson. At the time of reporting, military representatives had not yet responded to questions.

According to a Facebook post on the page of the Office of the Tatmadaw’s Commander-in-Chief, Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing, the army is scrutinizing the incident, which was described as an allegation that soldiers had abused “four insurgents.”

The post also stated that action would be taken if the allegations are discovered to be true.