Friday, August 7, 2009

Gang-rape follows Four-Cuts

by Hseng Khio Fah

(Shanland) -Latest reports of the Burma Army’s four-cut campaign said that a Shan woman from Shan State South’s Laikha township was gang raped in front of her husband by the Burma Army that has been waging a four-cut campaign since late July.

The couple was identified as Sai Awta, 23, and her wife Nang Noom, 20 (not their real names), from the 31 household Wan Nawngpoke village, Tarkmawk village tract, Laikha Township, said a source.

The incident occurred only a half of mile south of the village on August 2 at 5 pm, when three privates led by Sergeant Tin Aye from Mongkeung based Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) #514 was on patrol and found the said couple while they were working in their farm. The group detained them after accusing of being members of the SSA-South.

Some soldiers separated Sai Awta from his wife, tied him with a rope to a post of the hut and beaten him while others raped her wife in front of him in turn including the Sergeant until midnight. After that, the couple was warned not to spread news of the rape, said Sai Awta’s friend who declined to be named.

“They [soldiers] threatened them not to tell anybody; otherwise their family and both of them would be killed,” he said.

On that day, a 25 strong patrol from the battalion together with 14 men of pro-junta Mongzeun militia group (formally Brigade 758 of the Shan State Army (SSA) ‘South’ that surrendered in July 2006) arrived at the village.

It was led by Lt Myint Than and the militia group was led by Sai Yoong whose leader Mongzeun was killed in an attack by the SSA on 25 May.

“Villagers were given a deadline to leave their houses, if not all houses would be burnt down,” said a local source who wishes to remain in anonymity.

A clash between LIB#515 and SSA fighters on 15 July in Laikha township has led hundreds of villagers in Laikha, Kehsi and Mongkeung townships suffer from several human rights violations.

“License to Rape,” a report by the Shan Women’s Action Network (SWAN), which was published in 2002, detailing 173 incidents of rape and involving 625 women and girls, had shaken the international community.

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