Military probing suspect civilian deaths in Kachin

By AFP

YANGON — The military said Tuesday it was probing whether troops killed three civilians in Kachin State after their bodies were found buried near an army post riddled with bullets.

The corpses of the three men were discovered about three miles northeast of a military outpost in Mai Khaung village, where thousands of people have been displaced by recent fighting.

Local activists and media reported the men had been tortured and stabbed before they were killed, citing local officials.

“Responsible authorities started investigating on May 29th whether soldiers from military command were involved in the case,” the office of the commander-in-chief said in a statement.

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Kachin activist Khon Ja said the men were from nearby internally displaced person camps run by Christians.

“They were last seen arrested by (the) Tatmadaw,” she said.

Fighting in Myanmar’s borderlands has reached its worst point in decades in recent months, sending tens of thousands fleeing their homes in Kachin and neighbouring Shan State.

The army’s announcement of an investigation also comes days after a video showing men in military uniforms viciously beating and threatening to kill handcuffed detainees sparked outrage on social media.

The footage shows several men dressed in army uniform kicking and beating three handcuffed men, asking whether they belong to the Ta’ang National Liberation Army ethnic armed group.

An official from the TNLA told AFP the video was first recorded a year ago.

Last year seven soldiers were sentenced to five years of hard labour for killing villagers during an interrogation, in a rare show of military accountability.

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