Authorities ignoring rape and murder of 7-year-old girl in Pegu Division

January 8, 2009

HURFOM: A seven-year-old girl was raped and murdered in Ma U Pin village, Pegu Division last week. Local military authorities are refusing to take any action, though area residents and the Karen Women’s Organization (KWO) contend that the perpetrator is a soldier.

On December 27th, villagers report hearing a young girl scream and then, a little while later, a gunshot. According to a friend of the victim’s father, her family became worried when she did not return home that night. At dawn the next morning, a large group of villagers formed a search party.

At 10am, the young girl’s body was found hidden in bushes near her home. HURFOM sources said there was irrefutable evidence that she had been raped, and she was dead from a bullet wound in her chest.

HURFOM could not confirm the identity of the perpetrator, but a statement released by KWO contended that the perpetrator is a soldier.

HURFOM sources in the small, close-nit village also say they are certain the act was committed by a soldier. Earlier in the day on December 27th, a group of soldiers from Infantry Battalion No. 350, lead by Captain Thet Khine, arrived outside the village. A female resident, 45, said she saw a soldier enter the village in the evening. He disappeared, she said, and then she heard a scream and later a gunshot.

The bullet wound is also telling, the villagers say, for only soldiers in the area are permitted to carry firearms. “In our village, no one owns a gun – only soldiers can have gun,” said another source close to the family. “If the soldier did not do it, who did? But he [Captain Thet Khine] denies it.”

“We went to the Captain Thet Khine and told him the story of the rape, but the Captain did not seem to care about it,” said the source close to the family. “He did not agree [that a soldier committed the crime]. But he did not do anything to investigate. He just treated it like it was something normal.”

In a statement released on January 6th, KWO demanded action from Burma’s military government. “KWO is appalled at this horrific crime, and that the SPDC authorities have failed to take any action over the case,” reads the statement. “KWO urges the international community to pressure the SPDC authorities to take action over this case, and to ensure that the victim’s family and other community members face no retaliation for their attempts to seek justice.”

This story courtesy of the Human Rights Foundation of Monland

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