Three Villagers Tortured by Burma Army on Suspicion of Being RCSS/SSA “Spies” in Mong Kung, Southern Shan State
October 5, 2020
On September 20, 2020, three villagers tending cattle near Loi Don mountain, Mong Kung township, were blindfolded and beaten by Burma Army troops, who accused them of being “spies” sent by the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA).
The three villagers — Lung Kadika, aged 58, Sai Nwe, aged 30, and Sai Neminda, aged 30 — are from Long Jarm village, Ho Khai village tract, Mong Kung township.
At 3 pm on September 20, the three villagers were rounding up their cattle at the bottom of Loi Don mountain, when they encountered nine Burma Army soldiers from the Loi Don army base.
The villagers were accused of working for the Shan army, blindfolded with plastic, and kicked and beaten with sticks by six Burma Army soldiers. Lung Kadika was beaten about 15 times in the head. Sai Nwe was beaten about 10 times in the head, and Sai Neminda was beaten about 15 times in the head and body.
The Burma Army troops interrogated them as they beat them, asking: “Were you hired by RCSS to come and spy on us? How much did they pay you per person”?
The villagers returned home at around 4:30 pm, then had to travel to be treated for their injuries at Kesee.
Lung Kadika is the son of Lung Kham Oo and Pa Kham Oo; Sai Nwe is the son of Lung Hsing and Pa Pin; and Sai Neminda is the son of Kadika and Pa Khawng.
The Burma Army troops stationed at Loi Don are from IB 294 (based at Tasang, Mong Pan township) and LIB 575 (based at Na Law village tract, Mong Pan township).
After the torture incident, the Burma Army officer in charge at Loi Don, Aung Lwin, wrote a letter to one of the RCSS commanders in that area, saying they had arrested three villagers sent by RCSS to spy on their troops’ movement at the Loi Don base, and blaming the RCSS for provoking hostility during the Covid-19 crisis.
The strategic mountaintop of Loi Don was seized from NCA signatory RCSS/SSA by the Burma Army in early March this year, after a large-scale offensive. Since then, the Burma Army troops at Loi Don have repeatedly forced local villagers to transport military rations, as well as bamboo and logs to build their new base on the mountain.
On July 5, 2020, 30 Burma Army troops of IB 294 came down from Loi Don Mountain and went into Long Jarm village. They requisitioned four trucks, belonging to Lung Nanda, Lung Kio, Lung Kondra and Lung Mong, to transport their rations from Ham Ngai village up to their base on Loi Don Mountain. On August 5, 2020, 60 Burma Army troops of LIB 575 requisitioned two vehicles belonging to villagers from Wan Long Jarm. The vehicle owners, Lung Hsang Kham and Lung Maung, had to drive the troops from Ham Ngai to Loi Paek. They were paid only 20,000 kyats (15 US dollars) each.
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