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Soldiers Attack Left one Dead in Chin State

18 July 2012: Pa Thang Sian Mung, from Sozang village in Tedim Township, died at a hospital in Tedim town last Friday after being gang-beaten by two Burma Army soldiers and one policeman on 11 July.

The 41-year-old villager was mobbed by Burma Army Corporal Kyaw Hlaing Win, Private U Aung Zaw Myint, believed to be belonging to Light Infantry Battalion 269, and Policeman Saw Myat Htun while attempting to intervene in a fight where the security personnel were assaulting local villagers.

An eyewitness said Aung Zaw Myint and Kyaw Hlaing Win started hitting the victim with bars from behind while Saw Myat Htun struck on his head with a big stone.

“He [Thang Sian Mung] fell to the ground but they [soldiers and policeman] kept on beating him many times,” added the local eyewitness.

Other villagers made several attempts to mediate the fight in the early evening around sunset in the village bordering Sagaing Division in Burma.

One local said the villagers were too frightened to intervene in the attacks as the assailants were wearing uniforms.

Eventually, an increasing number of the villagers came out and managed to stop the fight, which left other five locals with minor injuries, according to the Chin World Media.

Thang Sian Mung succumbed to his injuries around 7am in the morning on 13 July despite having been admitted to hospital in Tedim on 12 July.

How the Incident Started

Recently, a jeep owned by a Chin local collided with a scooter ridden by Private Aung Zaw Myint and U Thar, from Special Road Construction Unit No. 11, between Tedim town and Vangteh village in Tedim Township.

U Thar got injured and was taken to hospital in Tedim, while the jeep owner was arrested and charged. He was later released on bail on 11 July and went back to his village, Sozang. The vehicle owner also paid money to U Thar as a token of apology for the accident.

Upon arrival at his village, the vehicle owner was demanded a compensation money of 200,000 Kyats by Private Aung Zaw Myint and his two friends : “You gave U Thar some money for his injuries but not me [Aung Zaw Myint].”

Informed of the incident by one of the village leaders named Pu E Khai, a police station in Tedim town told Aung Zaw Myint not to give trouble to the jeep’s owner as his case had just been cleared by the court.

Under the influence of alcoholic drinks, Aung Zaw Myint and his friends threw some abusive words at a local woman named Pi Hung Lian Cing, who dropped by at the liquor shop.

The woman’s brother, who went to the liquor shop and asked why his sister was abused verbally, was beaten up by the soldiers and the policeman.

Well acquainted with the three security personnel, Pa Thang Sian Mung arrived at the scene in a bid to mediate the fight.

“He [Thang Sian Mung] talked to them respectfully but was brutally beaten up,” said the local eyewitness.

Whereabouts of the Assailants

The villagers made civilian arrest of the three assailants and informed the police who then took Saw Myat Htun away with them, leaving the two soldiers.

Sources said that Corporal U Kyaw Hlaing Win and Private U Aung Zaw Myint have fled to Kalaymyo of Sagaing Division.

A police inspector from Hakha, the capital and the official seat of Chin State government, is believed to be making a visit to Sozang village for an investigation, according to the Khonumthung news.

Ongoing Impunity

The assailants have not been criminally charged, and may never be charged. According to Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO), arbitrary killings by Burmese security forces, especially the Burma Army soldiers in Chin State almost never get prosecuted.

“Sadly, impunity still reigns in Chin State and elsewhere in Burma, especially for the Burma Army despite the ongoing talks of reforms in Naypyidaw. This is why the withdrawal of Burma Army from the ethnic States is essential in ending serious human rights violations,” says a spokesperson of CHRO.

Reporting by Salay Nyein Chan with Thawng Zel Thang
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