Tatmadaw soldiers jailed for killing Mong Yaw villagers

YANGON — Seven soldiers have been sentenced to jail for killing villagers during an interrogation, the military said, a rare ruling in a country where the army has long operated with impunity.

The Tatmadaw controlled Myanmar for half a century in a brutal reign rife with rights abuses, including allegations of torture, rape and recruiting child soldiers.

Although it has rolled back its powers since handing over power to a quasi-civilian government in 2011, the army seldom admits to misconduct among its troops.

The sentencing handed out by a military court on Thursday suggests the still-powerful army is looking to further revamp its image as the country opens up to the West and hurtles through a democratic transition.

“Seven Myanmar army soldiers are sentenced to five years for killing local people in Mong Yaw village in Lashio township, Shan State,” the military said in statement on Facebook.

Support more independent journalism like this. Sign up to be a Frontier member.

“They all have to be sentenced to five years with hard labour in country side prison,” it added.

The bodies of the villagers were found in shallow graves several days after they were taken into custody by soldiers following a skirmish with ethnic rebels in Shan State — one of many regions riven by decades-long insurgencies.

More stories

Latest Issue

Stories in this issue
Myanmar enters 2021 with more friends than foes
The early delivery of vaccines is one of the many boons of the country’s geopolitics, but to really take advantage, Myanmar must bury the legacy of its isolationist past.
Will the Kayin BGF go quietly?
The Kayin State Border Guard Force has come under intense pressure from the Tatmadaw over its extensive, controversial business interests and there’s concern the ultimatum could trigger fresh hostilities in one of the country’s most war-torn areas.

Support our independent journalism and get exclusive behind-the-scenes content and analysis

Stay on top of Myanmar current affairs with our Daily Briefing and Media Monitor newsletters.

Sign up for our Frontier Fridays newsletter. It’s a free weekly round-up featuring the most important events shaping Myanmar