Friday, May 13, 2016

Burma Army Commander to Be Questioned About Kachin Teachers' Murder

Burma Army Commander to Be Questioned About Kachin Teachers' Murder

Permission will soon be granted to interview Major Aung Phyo Myint, the Burma Army commander who many consider a key suspect in the murder of two Kachin teachers in northern Shan State in 2015.

He was the commander of Light Infantry Battalion 503 (LID-503), a Burma Army unit that was staying in Kawng Kha Village in northern Shan State when the two teachers, Ma Maran Lu Ra and Ma Tangbau Hkawn Nan Tsin, were gang raped and murdered on the night of 19 January. Their naked and badly beaten bodies were found in their room the following day. They had been volunteering with the Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC).

An investigation team made up of lawyers and experts assembled by the KBC will not be allowed to question LID-503’s commander, only the Burmese government will investigate him, explained Sara Lama Yaw, an official in-charge of the KBC’s Information Department.

The Kachin News Group (KNG) was unable to contact Rev. Hkalam Samson, the general secretary of the KBC, who has personally overseen his organisation’s investigation into the highly publicized case.

Sara Lama Yaw said that the investigation into Major Aung Phyo Myint would begin on 17 May, but the KBC investigation team would not be able to ask him any questions and would be limited to just observing the proceedings.

On their Facebook page the KBC urged the public to pray for the truth to come out.

A joint report by the Kachin Women’s Association of Thailand (KWAT) and the Legal Aid Network (LAN) released on 19 January 2016 alleged that LID-503’s commander Major Aung Phyo Myint was likely to be the key suspect in the brutal rape and murder of the two Kachin teachers. The report also provided evidence to support this accusation.

The two teachers, who were themselves refugees from Kachin state, had volunteered with the KBC to teach children in northern Shan State. Their bodies were found gang raped and murdered eight months after they were sent to Kawng Hka village.

Translated by Thida Linn


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