Soldiers shoot two villagers in Yebyu Township; one dead, one hospitalized

May 5, 2009

HURFOM: Two men form Alaesakhan village, Kaleinaung Sub-Township, Yebyu Township, were shot by Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) No. 282. One died at the scene and the other has been hospitalized for over a month.

At around 7pm on March 4th, Nai Khin Taung and Nai Ah Bu, 22, encountered troops from LIB No. 282 as they returned from cutting wood in the forest near a farmed owned by Nai Ohwn Kyaw in the Kyaungywa Kwin area. The troops shot the two men for a still unknown reason. Nai Ah Bu was killed on the spot; Nai Khin Taung was wounded with two shots to his thigh, two to his chest, and a head wound from a bullet that glanced off his skull.

The next morning, troops from LIB No. 282 encountered two villagers from Alaesakhan. The soldiers informed the couple that two bodies needed to be recovered, gave them the location and told them to contact their headmen. The troops also confiscated a packet of candles, one pyi (2 kg) of rice and one pyi (2 kg) of sticky rice.

According to a source who spoke with the two villagers, they then immediately went to the location of bodies. “We found a dead body on the ground with a chainsaw near Nai Ohwn Kyaw’s farm at around 8 am. I feel afraid after what we saw there,” the source quoted one of the villagers who found the body.

The source also said they found the wounded man on the ground nearby, who had spent the night alone bleeding and untreated. A month later, he remains hospitalized and in serious condition in Ye Town.

LIB No. 282 had taken no responsibility for the shooting or the treatment of the men. The employer of the two woodsmen has provided compensation, including compensation to the family of Nai Ah Bu, as well as the cost of his funeral. He also paid for Nai Khin Taung’s medical expenses.

“Nai Wel who employs the two chainsaw workers compensated Nai Khin Taung’s family and Nai Ah Bu for over 2 million kyat,” said a 45-year-old woman from Alaesakhan village.

Nai Ah Bu’s parents buried his body close to a stream near Nai Ohwn Kyaw’s farm.

HURFOM has not been able to confirm why the two men were shot. One villager, 50, from Alaesakhan village speculated, “ The men were coming back from the forest very late with a chainsaw. The army battalion probably suspected they were supporting the Mon rebel group’ in some way, and killed them.”

Yebyu Township continues to be home to a small number of armed insurgents, and villagers in the area are routinely accused of offering them support. These accusations include harsh punishments, including detention, torture, summary execution and forced relocation. Just 20 miles to the northwest, in April 2 village headmen were executed and 36 homes burned in Paukpinkwin village, Yebyu Township. The victims were accused of supporting insurgents lead by Nai Chan Dein.

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