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The battalion commander of a soldier who shot and killed a Kachin villager has tried to resolve the issue outside the law, said a family member of the dead man.
Dashi Gam Seng, 40, was shot dead last week in Nam San Godaung village about 12 miles from Muse in northern Shan State, according to his brother-in-law Nau Jah, speaking to DVB on Friday on behalf of the family.
“Yesterday, the commander of [Burmese army] 88 Light Infantry Brigade (LIB) called the family and asked to meet with them,” Nau Jah said. “He told us that the Burmese soldier and my brother-in-law had been drinking together and the gun had been fired accidentally. He offered us 500,000 kyat (US$500) to cover funeral expenses.
“In fact, Dashi Gam Seng suffered from hepatitis and never drank beer or other alcohol. Our family refused to accept the money, and said it wanted to proceed with the case according to the law.”
He alleged that on 16 June, Private Win Hla of 88 LIB wandered, seemingly drunk, into a grocery shop in Nam San Godaung run by Dashi Gam Seng and his wife Ma Nge. Win Hla is alleged to have yelled at a female customer then entered into an argument with the store owner. The Burmese soldier then shot Dashi Gam Seng in the chest, then ran away, said Nau Jah.
The body was sent to Muse hospital for an autopsy. The family filed a complaint at Muse police station but have heard nothing, said Nau Jah.
“Those who commit such crimes should be charged to show that rule of law applies,” he concluded, adding that the recklessness of the drunk soldier had added to a sense of fear and distrust in the community.
Muse police station could not be reached for comment when contacted by DVB.
Shan State parliamentarian Daw Nang Ngwe Ngwe said that Muse police station had issued an order to arrest the soldier but would first leave it to the military commander to negotiate with the family and then see if the family was satisfied.
“It’s up to the family,” the Shan MP said. “We cannot tell them to withdraw the charges.”