Shanni Community Demands Justice For Students Killed By KIA

By Network Media Group
Saturday, July 25, 2020

The Shanni community and the families of students killed by Kachin Independence Army (KIA) soldiers in Kachin State demand action be taken against those responsible for their deaths.

A Kachin Independence Army (KIA) officer and several regular soldiers arrested Maung Thant Zin Aung,18, and Maung Zaw Myo Oo,17, in Sel Zin village between 10 and 11 p.m. on July 6. The boys were missing for over two weeks in Hpakant Township until the KIA’s political arm, Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), told the families that they were dead.

Htay Aung, chair of Tai-Leng (Shanni) Nationalities and Development Party (TNDP), told NMG that justice must be served against the boys’ killers. “If they have a policy, they should show it. We want them to transfer the perpetrators to the government.” Compensation and an apology must be paid to the victim’s family, he said.

Maung Thant Zin Aung’s father Aik San told NMG that KIA soldiers assaulted the boys and then took them away in their car. “We reported it to the police. And I’m still waiting to hear what KIO will tell us. After we discuss the case with KIO, we’ll continue the case,” Aik San said.

He learned of their deaths on July 22 after meeting with Kachin pastors.”They still haven’t returned their bodies. We want to see their bodies!”

Both boys are from Per Hok Kyi village, located in Homalin Township, Sagaing Region.

TNDP chair Htay Aung told NMG that KIO must take full responsibility for the crimes of its soldiers. “We want both sides to resolve this issue peacefully. If the situation couldn’t be resolved, it could turn into an intercommunal conflict.”

Col Naw Bu, in charge of KIO’s information department, said the regional commander is investigating the case. “If the perpetrators are found guilty, they will be charged. The highest penalty for murder is the death penalty, but that depends on the case.”

A TNDP statement on July 23 criticized KIO/KIA for collecting taxes, forcibly recruiting youth for the army and committing human rights abuses in Shanni areas. “We’re so disappointed in the government and Burma Army for failing to protect the Shanni people,” the statement said.

“They (KIO/KIA) have committed many abuses,” Htay Aung said.