Two villagers shot and killed by military captain

March 21, 2016

HURFOM: On March 9 a captain from Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) No. 280 shot and killed two villagers in Magyi Chaung Wa village, located in Mon State’s Khaw Zar Sub-Township, in Southern Ye Township.

The two victims were Nai A-Moe, 41 and Nai Chit Soe, 21, both fishermen who had worked in Magyi Chaung Wa for around 20 years.

The incident occurred at midnight on March 9, when Captain Zaw Myo Htet, together with six other members of LIB No. 280, entered Magyi Chaung Wa without prior notice to the village’s headman.

Nai A-Moe, who is known to have been disabled, had just left his house to repair his fishing net. When he was leaving the front of his house he was slashed in his face with a knife and shot six times by Captain Zaw Myo Htet. He died instantly at the scene. Hearing gunshots, his relative Nai Chit Soe raced to the front of the house to investigate and was shot three times, later dying of blood loss.

It is believed that the victims may have been mistaken targets, in a bid by the captain to murder village headman Nai Kai. Both victims were related to Nai Kai, who is the brother of A-Moe and father-in-law to Nai Chit Soe.

At the time of the attack LIB No. 280 had been active in the area for several months, covering a region that includes Magyi Chaung Wa, Mi Htaw Hlaw and Da Ni Kyar villages. Witnesses say that Nai Kai had angered LIB No. 280, after Magyi Chaung Wa’s poor villagers had been unable to fulfill the battalion’s request to the village headman that they be given a regular contribution of one bag of rice and 100,000 Kyat per month. It is also alleged that Captain Zaw Myo Htet personally owed the village head 135,000 Kyat and was unwilling to pay off his debt.

However, Nai Kai has shown outrage towards the battalion’s excuses, saying, “They said they accidentally shot the villagers. But it’s impossible. I saw them intentionally shoot my younger brother in the leg. It’s possible they could have mistaken my younger brother for me. But why did they also shoot my son-in-law? […] They entered the village secretly like a gang of robbers. We were more afraid of them than of robbers.”

Nai Kai says that Nai Chit Soe remained alive after the attack, but Captain Zaw Myo Htet would not allow Nai Chit Soe’s relatives to take him to Ye General Hospital, threatening to shoot them if they tried. Nai Kai explained, “[Nai Chit Soe] was still alive after he was shot. When the villagers tried to send him to hospital the captain shouted, ‘Don’t move. No one is allowed to call an ambulance.’ So Nai Chit Soe died from excessive blood loss.”

Nai Kai continued, “They were very cruel, so I will fight until the end for justice.”

Following the attack, the battalion attempted to offer Nai Chit Soe’s wife an undisclosed sum of money in compensation, on the condition that she did not pursue a trial for the case. However, she has refused the offer, saying, “Even if they gave me millions I would not sign the agreement. I will fight for justice to the end.”

Locals say that the incident has sparked fears about security amongst Magyi Chaung Wa’s population, especially among local fishermen who are often active late at night.

One migrant worker, who has lived in Magyi Chaung Wa for 20 years, said, “We have never seen this kind of incident before. How can we make a peaceful livelihood if things like this happen? I’m a migrant worker who works as a fisherman. Our fishing boat always leaves the village at midnight. I’m worried about my security and now I’m planning to move away from the village. I don’t dare live here.”

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