The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) has given compensation to the parents of two ethnic Shanni students who were killed by KIA soldiers earlier this month.
The 17- and 18-year-old were from Par Hok Gyi village in Sagaing Region’s Homalin Township. They were arrested by KIA soldiers at around 10:00 p.m. on July 6 after visiting Sel Zin village in Kachin State’s Hpakant Township, some 30 minutes from their homes by motorbike.
Sixteen days later, the KIA informed the parents of Maung Thant Zin Aung and Maung Zaw Myo Oo that they had been killed.
The head of the Kachin Independence Organization’s (KIO) information department Col Naw Bu said that the KIO/A had not given the order to kill the students.
“We have to solve this case. We have already arrested the perpetrators. We are still investigating them,” Col Naw Bu told SHAN on Friday, adding that action would be taken against the soldiers in accordance with the KIA’s laws.
Aik San, the father of the late Maung Thant Zin Aung, said that on July 24, the KIA had given each of the families 20 million kyat (around US$14,500) as compensation for the death of their sons.
“They confessed that they killed our children. Their soldiers killed our children. They gave us 400 lakh kyat as compensation for the murder of our two children yesterday,” Aik San told SHAN on Saturday, referring to the total sum that the KIA gave to both families.
The KIO/A’s Col Naw Bu told SHAN that his organization would place stricter controls on their soldiers so that such crimes would not happen again.
“We will fulfill the demands of the parents of the two students as best we can,” Col Naw Bu told SHAN, noting that the crime could affect coexistence between the Shanni and Kachin communities in the region.
The victim’s father Aik San said that he hoped a larger conflict would not break out between the two groups.
“We don’t want it to turn into an interethnic conflict. If it turns into an interethnic conflict, all of the people will have troubles,” Aik San told SHAN.
He also said he wanted information about where his son’s body had been taken.
“We don’t know where they buried the bodies. They haven’t returned them,” Aik San said.
Maung Thant Zin Aung was preparing to start university and had been studying English at the American Center in Yangon. Maung Zaw Myo Oo was a student in Grade 9.
The Tai-Leng (Shanni) Nationalities and Development Party, the Shanni (Tai-Leng) Solidarity Party, and the Shanni Youth Network released a joint statement on July 23 condemning the killing of the two students by KIA soldiers.