New Hpakant Commander Summarily Executes Suspects

A newly appointed commander of the Burma army has reportedly ordered his troops to kill anyone they have arrested who is suspected of being affiliated with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) or the People’s Defence Force – Kachin Region (PDF-K), or of being suspected soldiers in Hpakant Township, Kachin State.

“These suspects are interrogated separately in a holding cell and are not given food or water. The soldiers torture them before taking the suspects to civilian wards at midnight and killing them there,” the local, who requested anonymity, told KNG.

In April, the regime’s forces arrested more than 300 people, including some KIA and PDF-K soldiers, who were taken directly to the sit-tat’s Mazup Yang jail and detention centre, located in its camp on a strategic hilltop in Hpakant town.

“Now Burma army soldiers are not transferring KIA, PDF soldiers and others suspected of being connected to the groups to the Hpakant police station” as they did in the past, said another anonymous source, where they could be formally charged and tried under the law.

The bodies of two people, believed to be resistance fighters, were found near Sharaw Kha on 4 May with serious wounds on their bodies. The next day, two more people who had been shot in the head were dumped near Mawsizer.

On 9 May, regime soldiers arrested four youths suspected of being members of the KIA and the PDF-K at a bridge over Uru Creek and took them to their camp on the mountain top. The fate of the youths remains unknown.

The sit-tat has been trying to gain control of the township, which is rich in jade, since the beginning of the year. It is believed that the appointment of the new commander in March is their latest tactic to terrorise the population and undermine support for the resistance to gain control of the region.

Clashes occur daily and the regime’s soldiers arbitrarily arrest people and shoot mercilessly into their neighbourhoods causing civilians to live in a constant state of fear.

Locals informed KNG that junta soldiers have been stationed in civilian wards and jade mining blocks since early April, and that many civilians have been abducted and forced to serve as human shields during patrols. A column of 100 sit-tat and the People’s Militia Force forced five villagers from Malang to walk in front of the soldiers as they travelled to their base in Hpakant.

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