Kachin Woman, 60, Shot Dead as Rival EAOs Clash in Lashio Township

By Lawi Weng 19 November 2018

An ethnic Kachin woman was killed on Nov. 17 when fighting erupted between rival ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) outside her village near Lashio Township in northern Shan State.

Mar Lut, 60, and other residents of Mann Bein village were moving harvested rice on a farm at about 4 p.m. when fighting broke out nearby between the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) and a joint Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA)/Shan State Progress Party (SSPP) force. The clash prompted the group of villagers to attempt to return to their homes.

One of the villagers, Myint Than, said a group of soldiers from one of the EAOs sprayed bullets at them, killing Mar Lut.

“There were four men and six women in our group. We let the women walk in front as we were worried that the armed groups would suspect us [of being soldiers] if they saw men walking in front,” Myint Than said.

“They shot us even though we shouted to them that we were local people returning from the rice farm,” he said.

According to Myint Than, when the shooting started, Mar Lut ran into the bushes. Her friends thought she was taking cover and were unaware at first that she had been shot.

Mar Lut was shot in the stomach, and was already dead by the time the other villagers found her the next day.

“We could see [the soldiers] in the distance, but we couldn’t tell which armed group they were from. We only saw that they wore camouflage,” Myint Than said.

A funeral was due to be held for Mar Lut, a mother of four, on Monday, according to Mann Bein village head Tu Mai.

Mar Lut’s family wanted to inform the Myanmar police about her death, but were worried that the armed men would return and make trouble for the family, Tu Mai said.

He said the villagers lived in fear of being targeted by armed groups again; another villager was murdered on October 26.

The family of the victim in that incident, San Mon, 32 (also known as Mar Kan), blame the RCSS for his death.

Mann Bein village is 12 miles from Lashio. Numerous times, residents have been forced to flee fighting between the RCSS and joint TNLA/SSPP forces.

According to the TNLA, two separate clashes erupted between the two sides in Mann Bein village on Nov. 17.