Saturday, August 19, 2017

Two suspected KIAs killed in landmine explosion: Tatmadaw

Two suspected members of the ethnic armed group Kachin Independence Army (KIA) were killed in a landmine explosion in Mogaung township on August 9, the Tatmadaw said in a statement.

The explosion, which led to the killing of the two suspected KIA members, occurred before dawn near Nanwam village, the Tatmadaw statement said, noting that bomb splinters punctured their bodies.

The statement said some materials, including detonators and TNT gunpowder blocks, were found near the site of explosion.

It added the two fatalities were setting up the bomb when it accidentally exploded.

But the Tatmadaw statement did not explain how they were able to confirm that the two victims were members of the ethnic Kachin armed group.

U Dau Kha, head of technical assistance team of KIA has denied the Tatmadaw’s allegation.

“The death of civilians from Namti is not related to KIA. According to the local and family’s account, one of the two men is a fire fighter. They are not absolutely connected to KIA,” he said.

KIA is one of the armed ethnic organizations that have not signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement with government. More than 17 years of ceasefire was broken when fighters of KIA and Tatmadaw engaged in battles in 2011.

Nanmati police station chief Lieutenant Zaw Lon Aung said the police is conducting investigation on the incident in collaboration with Tatmadaw.

Police identified the fatalities as Phong Kat Naung Lap, a senior firefighter from Nanmati Fire Brigade, and his neighbour U La Ban Naw Bout from Lan Gwa village.

“Now we are conducting investigation in collaboration with Tatmadaw. So far, no complaint about the incident has been filed,” Police Lieutenant Zaw Lon Aung told The Myanmar Times.

According to religious leaders, the victims went fishing on the night of August 7.

But some church goers and villagers saw them near Si Dee Yan village at around 6pm on August 8, U Sin Gaung, deacon from Kachin Baptist Organization, told The Myanmar Times.

“We knew that they found landmines along their path and they dug these to use them in fishing. When they returned, they were checked at a checkpoint and were caught with the landmines. We heard explosion at around 4:30 am this morning,” he said.

“We found their bodies near Yin Kwal valley,” U Sin Gaung added.

A social organization, Law Kathta Sariya’s chair U Kyaw Lwin Soe told The Myanmar Times that there are no signs that landmines accidentally exploded or deliberately exploded at the place where the bodies were found.

“When I reached there, the mine has already exploded. If the mine was set up and exploded, there must be materials on the ground. I did not see evidence of explosion. The ground was normal. The bodies were seemed to have been pulled down from the mountain. Their flesh were scattered on the ground more than 20 feet,” U Kyaw Lwin Soe said.

Law kathta Sariya was in Mogaung township and it went and took the two villagers bodies.

Their family members of the dead people said that they did not see their bodies and they knew about their death when the other people said.

“We haven’t seen yet. We only knew other people said that they were dead. I did not know what to say,” Daw Ja Lot, the wife of a victim, U La Ban Naw Bout, told The Myanmar Times.

U La Ban Naw Bout has five children and worked as farmer. The head of Nanmati township fire brigade served at Mogaung fire brigade for more than 10 years and had a wife and two children.

“We learned of the death of the head this morning. But we did not know how he died. We are arranging to support their families,” said officer in charge U Seng Raw of the Mogaung township fire brigade.

The Myanmar Times tried to contact Tatmadaw True News Information Team but was unable to reach them.