Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Kachin Church leaders tell US government about shooting death of Myitkyina student

Fr.Dr. Gawlu Yang Wa(left), Nsang San (middle), Rev/Dr.Hkalam samson (right)

During a visit to the United States earlier this month, Christian leaders from the Kachin community informed American government officials in Washington DC about the recent shooting death of a Kachin student named Gum Seng Awng. The 19 year old student was shot dead by a Burma army soldier on the night of June 20th in the Kachin state capital Myitkyina.

The circumstances surrounding Gum Seng Awng's death remain mired in controversy. Few Kachin belief the official explanation about what happened.

The head of the Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC), Rev. Dr. Hkalam Samson and Father Dr. Gawlu Yung Wa a Kachin Catholic met with Mr. Tom Malinowski, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor on 22 June.

During the meeting, the two Kachin Christian leaders talked about the incident and informed Malinowski about the Kachin communities concerns about the killing, according to the US based Kachin Alliance’s spokesperson N’Sang Gum San. Mr Malinowski previously worked at Human Rights Watch and has travelled to Burma extensively.

The two leaders also raised their concerns about the Burmese government’s failure to take action in another high profile case, involving the the rape and murder of two Kachin voluntary teachers on the night of January 2015 15th at Kaung Khar village in the northern Shan State. Rights groups have implicated army troops in the teacher's killing but a proper investigation has not taken place.

Gum Seng Awng, a first-year student from Myitkyina Computer University, was shot to death by Private Maung Maung and Lance Corporal Nan Hee Khin Dan from the Tatmadaw Supply and Transport Battalion 717 at the corner of Thakhin Nat Pe Street and Thida Street in Thida ward in Myitkyina on the night of June 20th. The army has claimed the killing was in self-defense.

The body of Gum Seng Awng was buried at Jaw Bum Christian cemetery in Myitkyina at 1 PM on June 23rd. Activists and Kachin politicians including those from the Kachin State Democracy Party (KSDP) have called for justice in this case.

The famous Kachin Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter, Awng La N’Sang, has also changed his profile picture on Facebook in sign of solidarity. The profile picture now shows him with the phrase ‘I am Gum Seng Awng’ written on his left hand.


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