Civilian Shot Dead at Shan State Military Checkpoint

By Lawi Weng 27 October 2016

An ethnic Shan man from Mong Hsu Township in central Shan State was allegedly shot and killed by the Burma Army at a military checkpoint on Wednesday, according to local Shan sources.

Nang Khon Kham, a Shan Nationalities League for Democracy lawmaker from Mong Hsu Township, told The Irrawaddy that the man was shot in the head and killed while he drove to his home in Zon Pin village.

“He was shot point-blank at a checkpoint while driving his motorbike,” said Nang Khon Kham.

The victim, Sai Saung Su, was the former head of Zon Pin village. Police attempted to stop him at a checkpoint, but he could not control his bike and drove through, according to local source Nang Seng Hein, who said that he was shot at the next military checkpoint at around 10 a.m.

There is heightened tension between the Burma Army and the Shan State Army-North (SSA-N) in the area surrounding Mong Hsu Township. The Burma Army has increased security forces due to friction with the United Wa State Army in nearby Tangyan Township.  The victim was killed at a checkpoint between Mong Hsu and Tangyan townships.

Burma Army members and township authorities only allowed the victim’s family to see the body and pushed for a hasty funeral, locals said.

“We went to the scene of the shooting and then to the hospital to see the body, but we were not allowed,” said Nang Khon Kham, speculating that the army feared the people would take action against the blatant human rights abuse if they were permitted to see the body.

The lawmaker sent a letter asking her party to respond to the incident. At the time of reporting,  she had not yet received a reply.

“We can not keep quiet on this. We will take action. This is an abuse of our rights,” she said.

Burma Army abuses are widely reported in the area, according to human rights groups, who accuse government troops of detaining, torturing and murdering civilians. While the military has largely enjoyed impunity in the past, a court martial in September found seven soldiers guilty of murdering five civilians in Mong Yaw village in rural Lashio Township, northern Shan State .