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Innocent villagers’ murdered by Tatmadaw must be handled lawfully

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In Brief: The murder of two innocent villagers

Government troops shot and killed two villagers on a road in the center of Makyee Chaungwa Village, southern Ye Township, Mon State. It has been reported that the shooting was “a mistake”.

Was it was a mistake or not? Only the perpetrator knows. Regardless, the result is that two innocent villagers were killed.

The incident occurred on March 8 at midnight. Two local fishermen, U Moe, 40, and Maung Chit Soe, 23, were killed after they left their homes for the seaport to fish.

Funeral of two fishermen shot dead by Tatmdaw personal (Photo: Mi Hong Sa)
Funeral of two fishermen shot dead by Tatmdaw personal (Photo: Mi Hong Sa)

“U Moe, who has only one leg, fell down right there after the first shot. Maung Chit Soe was shot while he was shouting for help. The soldier was only two yards away when he shot them. The bullets were found very close to the dead body,” said a Makyee Chaungwa villager, who requested not to disclose his name.

Once injured, Maung Chit Soe was rushed to Ye Town Hospital. The villagers and Maung Chit Soe were stopped by the LIB 280 who were firing warning shots and blocking the road at the entrance to the village. Word in the village is that the soldiers blocked the road, not letting them deliver Maung Chit Soe to Ye Town Hospital. Maung Chit Soe didn’t make it to Ye Town Hospital and died at 5 AM from bleeding.

The victims’ corpses were sent to Ye Town Hospital for inspection. Although U Moe’s face was found with knife lacerations, the details of the inspection weren’t publicized by Ye Town’s crime doctor nor the police detective.

Officials from the General Administration of Ye Township reported the shooting to the media organizations at once. The report stated, “The two villagers were heading to the river to go fishing. They were on the road in the village center when they were encountered by the LIB No.280 and were mistakenly shot by the troops”.

The Ye Township and Kawsar Township administrators provided 80,000 Kyat to the families of the victims. The administrators confirmed that Tatmadaw soldiers shot them; however, they never disclosed their identities and said that the shooting was a mistake.

The report from the Administration said that the two victims are Bamar ethnic Buddhists. In fact, they are Mons of Buddhist faith from Makyee Chaungwa Village, Ye Township and Pa-nga Village, Thanbyuzayat Township.

“The officer who shot them is a captain. However, no one can yet tell why this shooting took place. We have not heard yet whether the perpetrator will be charged,” said a villager, who has good knowledge of the shooting.

The Makyee Chaungwa Village is in southern Ye Township, Mon State. The troops that were on patrol were LIB No. 280 from Tenasserim Division. However, authorities have yet to reveal the shooter’s identity.

Is this similar to the case of reporter Ko Par Gyi?

It was stated that the LIB 208 Tatmadaw troops shot freelance Ko Par Gyi, aka Ko Aung Kyaw Naing, in Kyaikmayaw Town, Mon State because Ko Par Gyi stole the soldiers’ weapons and attempted to run away whilst detained on October 4, 2015. His dead body was then buried in the south of Shwewarchaung Village, near Kyaikmayaw Town.

Regarding the case of Ko Par Gyi, the Kyaikmayaw Township Court ruled on June 23, 2015, that, “He [Ko Par Gyi] did not die naturally. He died from a gunshot.”

According to a Myanmar National Human Rights Commission press release, the lawsuit against the two soldiers accused of shooting Ko Par Gyi was dismissed unconditionally by the Military Court.

What are the differences between the two cases of the fishermen and the journalist?

– Both cases took place at night. Only the victims and the perpetrator[s] know what actually happened.

– In Ko Par Gyi’s case, because Ko Par Gyi wrestled away the guns of two soldiers from LIB No. 208 and ran away, he was shot dead. That is the Tatmadaw’s story.

– In fishermen U Moe and Maung Chit Soe’s case; they were shot dead by mistake by a LIB No. 280 personal. Again, the Tatmadaw’s story.

The first case in question is concerning murdered freelance journalist Ko Par Gyi. The incident took place near Kyaikmayaw Town and with the help of friends working for justice, Ma Thandar, Ko Par Gyi’s wife, could get the case to trial in accordance with the law. This case has spread throughout to the world. However, it is not completely closed yet.

The second case of the two fishermen’s death is also necessary to solve in accordance with the law. The incident took place away from the town and their family members want the case to be solved lawfully.

What I, the writer, want to suggest is that the respective government officials and lawyers as well as the Hluttaw representatives who are elected by the people, should help solve the case of the two fishermen from Makyee Chaungwa Village, in accordance with the law.

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