Military threats reported as activists seek justice for Ye Township double murder
April 6, 2016
Last month various news outlets reported the murder of two fishermen by a military captain in Mon State’s Magyi Chaung Wa village. In recent days Magyi Chaung Wa’s village administrator has made further allegations, claiming that the implicated battalion threatened him following the murders, as they attempted to assure his silence.
Two Magyi Chaung Wa villagers were shot and killed by Captain Zaw Myo Thet on the night of March 8, as the fishermen left their house to board their fishing boat. According to military sources, the alleged perpetrator, Captain Zaw Myo Thet, has been charged with murder under Burma’s penal code. However, the captain – who is affiliated with Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) No. 280 – is currently missing, having fled by ship three days after the incident.
Speaking on April 3, village administrator Nai Kai explained that his attempts to seek justice for the case have been overshadowed by threats from military officials. He detailed, “The authorities from Light Infantry Battalion No. 280 threatened me and tried to force me in various ways not to talk to anyone about the two victims shot and killed in Magyi Chaung Wa village.”
According to Nai Kai, military authorities were left particularly unsettled by a visit to Magyi Chaung Wa on April 2 by Mon armed group the New Mon State Party (NMSP). During the visit NMSP authorities met with the wives of the two victims and offered some financial assistance.
Immediately following the NMSP visit, Nai Kai claims that he received a call from high-ranking LIB No. 280 authority, Major Aung Ko Win. Nai Kai detailed, “They phoned me to ask about the visit and I told them that the people from NMSP came here about the murder, and that they just came to visit the families.”
He continued, “[The military] said that they can arrest me at any time and send me to prison. I think they were not satisfied with my answers. They threatened me in many ways. So, I don’t want to talk to anyone [about the murders] because I am afraid of them. If they are serious [about their threats] then I don’t dare live here much longer. I didn’t do anything bad […] I feel bad because I lost two of my villagers and the military has threatened me.”
Ko Jimmy from the Human Rights and Justice Initiative (HRJI) has offered his support, saying, “We can’t accept the military abusing villagers like this in a time of reform, democratic governance and civilian-led government. We should all press for justice for the two victims in Magyi Chaung Wa.”
Ko Jimmy continued, “In the past there were many cases like this, where the military intimidated citizens, and those cases did not see any punishment. But we can’t accept this in a time of reform. Frankly, in this incident the military has ignored all activists, citizens and the judiciary. We need to fight until the end for justice. We need all CSOs and CBOs to join us.”