Extremely graphic photos of the bloodied and naked bodies of two Kachin volunteer teachers, who were allegedly raped and murdered by the army in northern Shan State, have circulated widely among the Kachin community over the past 24 hours.
News of the two women’s violent death spread quickly online amongst Kachin people many of whom took to Facebook to denounce what appears to have been the latest army atrocity committed against unarmed Kachin civilians.
The two young women’s bodies were found shortly after Burma army troops are alleged to have violently raped and then murdered the women on the evening of 19th January or in the early hours of the following day. The bodies of the two teachers were found at 9AM on 20th January in their small house in the Kawnghka-Chubuk Christian Church compound, explained Rev. Zau Ra the general secretary of Muse Township Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC).
The young women who were aged 20 and 21 years old were volunteering with the KBC in Kawnghka-Chubuk village, in Northern Shan State.
“Now their bodies are being autopsied by a doctor” says Rev. Zau Ra. According to the reverend a funeral service will be held when the KBC General Secretary and the deceased women’s relatives arrive in the village.
According to village head Zinghtung La the volunteer teachers left his home on the night of the incident at about 10.30 pm. They had been taking part in a birthday prayer service at his home.
“Yesterday they came here for my child’s birthday service and they went back around 10:30 PM. Their dead bodies were found only the next morning around 9 am after someone tried to bring them to teach as the students were waiting,” Zinghtung La said.
Both of the deceased women already passed the 10th standard in Kachin State. One of the women was from Waimaw Township and another from the Jan Mai Kawng Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in Myitkyina.
Their bodies were sent to the Muse hospital for autopsy and Kawnghka-Chubuk villagers and the village chief have filled a formal case with the Kawnghka-Chubuk Police Station, Zinghtung La said.
“The army has been stationed in our village for two days. This happened while they are here,” he said. According to Zinghtung La the footprints of army issue boots were clearly observed around the small home where the deceased bodies were found.
The Kachinnews has learned that the army unit currently stationed in the village is Light Infantry Battalion (Kha-Ma-Ya) 503 under Military Operation Command (MOC-1).
Since the Kachin conflict began in June 2011, there have been frequent reports of army personnel commuting acts of sexual violence against civilian women caught up in the conflict