The bodies of three local men have been discovered in shallow graves in Namtu Township. The cause of death is as yet unknown.
Photo by citizen journalist- Dead bodies of three villagers were found on August 4 between the villages of Wan Mai and Sarm Kar, Namtu Township.
According to one of the victims’ family members, the three have been identified as: Loong Por Kham, 56; Sai Ai Parng, 31; and Sai Ai Htwe, 24.
All three were from the village of Kong Hong and had disappeared while out foraging for forest foods on August 1 in Mongmu village tract, Namtu Township.
Their bodies were uncovered on August 4 between the villages of Wan Mai and Sarm Kar, the family member told Shan Herald.
Sai Lek, a spokesperson for the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy, or SNLD, said this is not the first time that this kind of incident had happened. In fact, he said, it all too common.
Sai Lek blamed the frequency of such murders on a lack of rule of law in the region.
“I have urged the Shan State and Union governments to put some serious attention into this issue and try to solve the problem immediately,” he said. “The armed groups also have to understand and respect the law. They should respect human rights and behave according to military ethics.”
According to Tai Freedom News Agency, the news and information department of the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA) reported on August 13 that two of the victims were soldiers of its rivals, the Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA).
Reached for comment, an SSPP/SSA official, who wished to remain anonymous, told Shan Herald that the militia will form a committee to investigate the case. He said that they will proceed with the investigation according to the law, and bring the culprit or culprits to justice.
Loong Maung, who found the graves, said that he has no idea which armed group, if any, committed the crime. He said that he and other residents reported the case to local authorities and local political parties.
“The bodies were found near one of the ethnic armed groups’ camps,” Loong Maung told Shan Herald without elaborating or providing any further details.
Armed groups active in the area include Burmese government forces, the Kachin Independence Army, the Ta’ang National Liberation Army, the RCSS/SSA, and the SSPP/SSA.
According to a resident in Namtu who did not wish to be identified, another villager had been found murdered recently in Nyaungmong village.
In the most high-profile recent case, on June 25, seven civilians were killed by government troops in Mong Yaw, Lashio Township. A trial for the suspected soldiers and officers involved is currently under way at a military court in Lashio.
By Shan Herald Agency for News (SHAN)
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