On December 12, 2014, Burma Army troops from LIB 573 shot and killed a 32-year-old mentally ill villager, Sai Sarm Tip, at his house in front of his parents, in the village of Wan Tinn, in Murng Yawng, eastern Shan State. The troops had surrounded the house, ordered Sai Sarm Tip to come out, then shot him as he stepped outside.
Two days later, on December 14, over 1,200 villagers from all 66 villages in Murng Yawng township, and all nine quarters of the town, were forced by the Burma Army to join a public demonstration in the sports field in Murng Yawng town against “an insurgent group”. One person from each household was ordered to attend, and local Shan village representatives were paid 50,000 kyat each to read out prepared statements denouncing the insurgents, and blaming them for taxing and recruiting local people, and for killing innocent civilians. All the villagers were forced to shout prepared slogans in Burmese, calling for the insurgent group to be “wiped out.” The main resistance group operating in Murng Yawng is the Restoration Council of Shan State (Shan State Army-South), which has had a ceasefire with the Burmese government since December 2011.
SHRF strongly denounces the unprovoked extrajudicial killing of Sai Sarm Tip, and calls for those responsible to be held to account for this crime.
SHRF also condemns the Burmese military authorities for ordering local villagers to join a mass protest against an ethnic resistance group for crimes which they are committing themselves. Forcing villagers to do this is a violation of their rights, and an insult to their intelligence and dignity. It is also reprehensible of the Burma Army to be launching public campaigns to discredit ethnic armed groups, when the government claims to be trying to build peace in the country.