Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Kachin student in coma after brutal assault by soldiers - Hpuwan La San

Written by KNG

After the brutal assault by Burmese Army soldiers, a teenaged Kachin student is in a coma for three days in hospital. He was beaten up severely at the railway station of Mayan Village in Burma's northern Kachin State on May 31 by a section of soldiers, said local sources close to the boy.

Burmese regime's Northern Commander Brig-Gen Soe Win

An eighth grade student Hpuwan La San (14) was innocent but wrongly assaulted by a group of angry soldiers from the village-based Burmese Army Artillery Battalion No. 372 led by Lt-Col. Ye Yint Twe . The assault followed a dispute between the soldiers and local Kachin young men, according to the students' relatives.

His relatives added that teenaged Hpuwan La San was assaulted without being asked any questions by the Burmese soldiers while he was waiting for a train to go back to his home in Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State. He fell unconscious on the scene of assault, said relatives.

He was first hospitalized in Namti, a small city near Mayan Village and later moved to the military hospital of the junta's Northern Command HQ in Myitkyina, said Namti hospital sources. He is now in a coma and vomiting blood. He has multiple fractures on his entire body following the assault, said relatives who visited him in hospital.

Besides, over four more innocent high school students from the village were also assaulted in their homes by Burmese soldiers but their injuries are not serious, said villagers.

La San was not involved in the clash between the soldiers and young men in the village. The fight took place after the young men prevented a teenage Kachin girl called Wa Sha Ki from being raped with a knife held to her throat by four Burmese soldiers in the afternoon of May 31.

The four Burmese soldiers were beaten up by a group of Kachin youths soon after they attempted to rape Wa Sha Ki. In a harsh retaliation local Burmese soldiers, led by the Artillery battalion commander Lt-Col. Ye Yint Twe went on the rampage on Kachin young men. Over 30 troops were ordered to "Kill all Kachin young men in the village."

The army operation took place between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. Burma Standard Time. The troops assaulted Kachin young men in every place in the village, said villagers.

Yesterday, a high ranking army officer from the Northern Command HQ based in Myitkyina visited the scene and met village administrators and village leaders.

He ordered that Hpuwan La San’s responsibility must be taken by both the village and the village-based Artillery Battalion. He made a simple apology for the words of the battalion commander Ye Yint Twe---- ‘Kill all Kachin young men in the village.’ He said "Don't listen to those words. It is what wicked people say," said villagers.

During the short visit, the army officer promised that soldiers will not assault Kachin young men in the village any more. But more than 30 young men are still hiding in the forests, said villagers.

According to villagers, severe problems in the village started cropping up after the Burmese Army's Artillery Battalion set up base in the village in 2004. The soldiers slaughter cattle owned by villagers without paying, confiscate land and rape women.

It is at such tumultuous times that Kachin people in Burma and abroad have voiced their opinion and suggested that the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the biggest Kachin ceasefire group in the country break the ceasefire agreement and resume war with the Burmese military regime.

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