KBC to appeal to UN rep over Kachin teachers’ murders
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.