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A man believed to have ties to various armed groups operating in northern Shan State was gunned down in Namkham on Wednesday, according to local sources.
The man, identified by police as Sai Saung Khae, 52, was shot dead at around 3:15pm on Wednesday as he was leaving a high-school graduation ceremony attended by his daughter.
Sai Tun Hlaing, a local resident who was also at the ceremony, said he heard a gunshot soon after the event, which he said had been organised by the Shan Nationalities Democratic Party (SNDP), also known as the White Tiger Party.
“As I was approaching the parking lot, I heard a shot. Some young people came and told me to go into a nearby house for safety. Then I heard that Sai Saung Khae had been shot,” Sai Tun Hlaing told DVB on Thursday.
“Two people on a motorcycle came and shot him as he was getting into his car. He managed to go into a store on the main street, but they went after him and shot him again. They shot him six times and then took off on their motorbike,” he added.
Although it wasn’t clear which groups he was associated with, residents said he was involved in Shan nationalist activities and supported the Shan State Army–North.
According to police, the victim’s father was affiliated with the Ta’ang National Liberation Army, another armed groups operating in the area.
“His father is a major and in charge of collecting tax in the region. In general, we heard that the villagers dislike him,” said a police source who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The police source said the bullets used to shoot the victim were European-made, suggesting that the shooters may have had ties to leaders of locally active armed groups. However, he added that others also had access to the same bullets.
No motive has been established in the shooting. Witness interviews are ongoing.