KBC to ap­peal to UN rep over Kachin teach­ers’ mur­ders

The Myanmar Times - - News - YE MON yeemon­tun@mm­times.com

FOL­LOW­ING a rare verdict last week hold­ing Tat­madaw sol­diers ac­count­able for civil­ian deaths, the Kachin Bap­tist Con­ven­tion is pre­par­ing a let­ter to urge a sim­i­lar mea culpa in a sep­a­rate case.

The KBC said it will send its mis­sive to Yanghee Lee, the UN spe­cial rap­por­teur for hu­man rights in Myan­mar, ask­ing her to ap­peal to the govern­ment to seek jus­tice for two Kachin vol­un­teer teach­ers raped and mur­dered in north­ern Shan State last year.

Rev­erend Sam­son Hkalam, the gen­eral sec­re­tary of the KBC, told The Myan­mar Times yes­ter­day that the let­ter will be sent af­ter a cen­tral ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee meet­ing at the end of Septem­ber.

“Peo­ple are very con­cerned that the NLD [Na­tional League for Democ­racy]-led govern­ment has failed to find out the truth and bring this case to jus­tice,” he said. “The in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity will have to ap­ply pres­sure.”

Ms Lee said yes­ter­day that she has “con­tin­u­ously raised this case with au­thor­i­ties” and will con­tinue to do so.

“I am ex­tremely con­cerned that over a year and a half af­ter the hor­rific rape and mur­der of Ms Maran Lu Ra and Ms Nan Tsin, the per­pe­tra­tors have yet to be brought to jus­tice,” she said.

Kachin or­gan­i­sa­tions and Kachin lo­cals be­lieve the per­pe­tra­tors were sol­diers from the 503rd Light In­fantry Reg­i­ment un­der the North­east Re­gion Com­mand.

The reg­i­ment had es­tab­lished a tem­po­rary base in Khaung Khar vil­lage, Shan State, two days be­fore the two teach­ers were killed. The base was lo­cated about 100 me­tres (330 feet) from where the in­ci­dent oc­curred.

A po­lice colonel from the Shan State Po­lice Force said yes­ter­day that 28 sol­diers from the 503rd Light In­fantry Reg­i­ment have al­ready been in­ter­ro­gated about the crimes, with the in­ter­views shed­ding no light on pos­si­ble per­pe­tra­tors.

“We want to in­ter­view four vil­lagers who are sus­pected by the po­lice but can­not be­cause they are be­ing har­boured in KIO-con­trolled ter­ri­tory and we can­not go there,” said the po­lice colonel, who de­clined to be named, re­fer­ring the Kachin In­de­pen­dence Or­gan­i­sa­tion.

How­ever, the KBC main­tains that the vil­lagers have been scape­goated, and wants per­mis­sion to di­rectly speak with Ma­jor Aung Phyo Myint, the head of a Tat­madaw col­umn, as well as sol­diers from the 503rd Light In­fantry Reg­i­ment. In May, Maj Aung Phyo Myint pro­vided tes­ti­mony to the Lashio town­ship po­lice but the KBC was not al­lowed to ques­tion him.

“We will also send the let­ter to Pres­i­dent U Htin Kyaw re­quest­ing per­mis­sion to in­ter­view the Tat­madaw sol­diers di­rectly,” said Rev Sam­son Hkalam

The two fe­male vol­un­teers, Maran Lu Ra, 20, and Tang­bau Hk­wan Nan Tsin, 21, were work­ing for the KBC in Kaung Khar vil­lage teach­ing chil­dren whose ed­u­ca­tion had been dis­rupted by per­sis­tent fight­ing in the re­gion. On Jan­uary 19, 2015, their naked bod­ies were found with stab wounds and head in­juries af­ter vil­lagers re­ported hear­ing screams the prior night.

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