Villagers in Northern Shan State allege that four charred corpses found last week in a forested area belong to local villagers who were abducted and then killed by Burma Army troops stationed in the area.
Three charcoal workers from Malun Bum Hka and Huhpyet villages in Northern Shan State have been missing since 25th January when they were detained by Burma Army soldiers according to a fourth man Maran La Doi, who says he managed to escape after being shot at by the soldiers.
“They got arrested when they met with a Burma Army column outside the village and the villagers have been searching for them after the fighting stopped and only found their burned remains,” said a local pastor from the area when reached for comment by the Kachin News.
According to the pastor the fourth man who was with the men at the time of the arrest escaped after being shot in the knee. Two of the dead bodies found at Law Hkum Bum are believed to belong to Mahaw La Ja (21) and Lahtaw Hkun Hpung (18) from Malun Bum Hka village. The third body was believed to be that of Maran Yaw Han (20) from another nearby village Huhpyet. A fourth body found alongside the three dead young workers appeared be that of an elderly man named Doi Ring from Huhpyet who has also been missing.
The bodies appear to have been burned at the same place where they were found. They were buried following a funeral held on 1st Februaryt. The area where the incident took place is in a section of Northern Shan State near the Chinese border that has been the site of repeated fighting between the Kachin Independence Organization’s (KIO) armed wing and the Burma Army over the past few weeks.
Photos of the burned bodies and their funeral service at Malun Bum Hka have been spread widely amongst the Kachin community via social media over the past few days. The case has also been reported on by the Irrawaddy magazine however officials from the Muse township police department have claimed to local residents that they are unaware of the case.
Two Kachin volunteer teachers working for a program affiliated with the Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) were found murdered in their dormitory in Kawng Hka village in Northern Shan State’s Pangsai (Kyukok) township on 20th January. The two teachers’ bodies were found naked and appear to have been raped before being killed. Villagers in the area also believe that the army troops from a nearby post were involved in the teachers’ deaths. An army run newspaper has publicly warned against implicating the army in the teachers’ deaths.
Government authorities have to yet to announce the results of an autopsy on the dead teachers.