The Shanni community fears for its safety after a prominent long-time member of the Shanni Literature and Culture Association was gunned down in his home by two youth assailants in Hpakant Township.
“They shot him in the head three times,” a Shanni youth said about the two unidentified youths who arrived to Hawng Per village by motorbike.
Residents fear that his murder is politically motivated and will cause hostilities between the different ethnic nationalities living in the area.
”In my opinion, an ethnic armed organisation is targeting the Shanni people during the political crisis in the country,” said a member of a prominent Shanni party who spoke to SHAN on condition of anonymity.
The 60-year-old Than Pe, who was involved in Shanni affairs for many years, was also the headman of Hawng Per for a decade.
The Shanni Nationalities Army condemned his murder in a statement on 27 June.
The Kachin People’s Defence Force, fighting against the regime under the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), abducted the Shanni Youth Network vice-chair for Bamauk township, in Mang Kap village on 19 June. After interrogating and torturing him for five days, the youth was released.
Local residents have accused the KIA of killing Than Pe, but have been unable to produce any evidence.