Kachin farmer murdered by Burmese Army soldiers – authorities take no action

(BCUK) Burma Campaign UK sources have confirmed that Burmese army soldiers brutally killed a farmer in his local church in Kachin State.  However, there has been no proper investigation and no one has been arrested for the murder. Instead, the family members of the victim have been offered around £300 for the murder.

According to local sources, the attack happened at 8:45pm local time on 19th December in Nawng Mi Village, Hpakant District, Kachin State, northern Burma. A group of soldiers led by Sgt. Kyaw Myint from village based Burmese Army Artillery Battalion No. 298 came into the church in Nawng Mi quite inebriated and began to yell insults to the church members, who were watching Sunday school children rehearsing and preparing for Christmas. A youth leader, Lama Brang, pleaded with the soldiers to calm things down but was attacked and beaten by Sgt. Kyaw Myint. He was injured on his face, and lost one tooth. Later, Sgt. Kyaw Myint attacked another villager, Lama Seng Naw, and stabbed him in the chest and thigh, causing serious wounds.

Lahpai Naw Seng, a local farmer, was among the crowd. He was stabbed in his chest and died after 15 minutes. The chairman of village State Peace and Development Council arrived at 11:00pm and notified the neighboring police, who came at 2:00 pm the next day. However, the police authorities refused to take action because the Burmese Army soldiers were involved in the case.

On 20th December, Col. Aung Kyaw Htun, a Deputy Commander of Danai Military Region, came to investigate the case. Although Sgt. Kyaw Myint confessed to the murder under interrogation, no action has been taken either to arrest or charge him. Instead, Col. Aung Kyaw Htun offered 500,000 kyats to family members as compensation for the murder.

A villager said, “This is not the first time. There are many other violations committed by the Burmese soldiers in our village, like brutal assaults, attacks to our civilians, who were left unconscious on the streets. They come into the village and threaten the civilians. I want to say one thing… it is totally not true when they say “Burmese Army is Mother and Burmese Army is Father”. They are just terrorists and enjoy committing human rights abuses against us”.

There are more than 300 households living in Nawng Mi village and all of them are ethnic Kachin farmers. In the first week of January, the villagers, including church leaders, wrote a letter to Northern Regional Commander, Maj. Gen Soe Win expressing how they live in fear under the military, the continuous assault of the military, and appealing for action on the case. So far, there has been no response at all regarding the letter.

Last June, around 15 schoolchildren and young men were attacked, beaten and severely injured by a group of Burmese Army soldiers in Mayan village in Moegawng district, Kachin State but no action was taken by the authorities.

“This is another example of impunity, where no action is taken against Burmese military soldiers who commit human rights violations. It is shameful that the international community is still silent and has failed to take action on widespread and systematic human rights violations in Burma”, said Nang Seng, Campaigns Officer at Burma Campaign UK.

This month, more than 140 Members of Parliament from the British Parliament have been calling on UK government to urge the UN to establish a Commission of Inquiry for crimes committed by the military regime in Burma.

 

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