Shan Abbot Shot Dead in Kyaukme

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The two gunmen remain unidentified.

abbot of Shwe Kyin monastery in northern Shan State’s Kyaukme town
Photo By Kyauk Mae Youth/ abbot of Shwe Kyin monastery in northern Shan State’s Kyaukme town

Two unidentified gunmen fatally shot the abbot of Shwe Kyin monastery in northern Shan State’s Kyaukme town last week.

The men arrived at the monastery by motorbike at around 6:30 p.m. on Friday, as monks and novices were preparing for evening worship. They shot the 49-year-old abbot—Ven. Kalayana Wuntha—seven times.

“We don’t know the gunmen. They ran away after the shooting. The villagers tried to catch them,” said vice chairman of the Nam Khong volunteer association Sai Thein Ngwe. “Nobody saw them when they entered the monastery.”

Kalayana Wuntha’s body has been sent to the public hospital in Kyaukme.

“Our abbot was very smart—all the villagers depended on him. We respected him a lot,” a local man told SHAN. “The abbot didn’t have any grudges with anyone. We feel we have suffered a great loss,” he added.

Photo By Kyauk Mae Youth/ abbot of Shwe Kyin monastery in northern Shan State’s Kyaukme town
Photo By Kyauk Mae Youth/ abbot of Shwe Kyin monastery in northern Shan State’s Kyaukme town

The man pointed out that the monastery—which is home to 200 novice monks—is located near the local police station, in Quarter 7.

Shwe Kyin monastery hosted a major meeting of more than 200 people in mid-September, including monks and civil society representatives, on the future of Shan politics. Participants in the meeting released a statement about how to overcome difficulties in the case of a merger between two Shan armed groups, the Restoration Council of Shan State and the Shan State Progress Party.

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