Teenagers pay ultimate price for conflict in Rakhine and Shan states
In Rakhine, soldiers fired indiscriminately hitting Ma Ye Ye Soe, 18, in the face. A four-year-old girl was also injured in the incident. In northern Shan, soldiers gunned down Mai Aike Zaup, 17, who was running away from a checkpoint thinking the armed men were rebels.
Yangon (AsiaNews) - As fighting continues in various parts of Myanmar, the death of two teenagers has sparked outrage in public opinion.
Ma Ye Ye Soe, 18, and Mai Aike Zaup, 17, are the latest victims of ethnic conflict in Rakhine and Shan states. Both were shot by the military, albeit under different circumstances.
Currently, Myanmar troops are fighting the Buddhist rebels of the Arakan Army (AA) in northern Rakhine State as well as the Ta'ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) in northern Shan State, where the armed group is fighting for the self-determination of the Ta'ang ethnic group.
Ma Ye Ye Soe died two days ago at her home in Myin Hpu, a village in Rathedaung Township (Rakhine), when she was struck in the face by a bullet.
Myin Hpu village administrator U Moe Kaung said that at about 10 o’clock on Wednesday, about 40 soldiers took up positions in the village.
At around 11.30 am, a mine exploded near the village. Although no one was hurt, the blast prompted the troops to randomly shoot into the village, sending locals fleeing to safer locations.
“I witnessed with my own eyes that Army soldiers were the only armed group shooting at the homes,” U Moe Kaung said.
A four-year-old girl, Ma Kay Thi Soe, was also injured in the shooting.
The Army unit fired at the village for almost one hour. Afterwards, soldiers rounded up 100 men from the community and held them for several hours. In the late afternoon, all were let go except for two.
Ma Ye Ye Soe's death came two days after that of Mai Aike Zaup, in Okk Mann Lee, a village in Kutkai Township (Shan).
The 17-year-old man was returning from a pagoda festival with a friend when they ran into a group of soldiers, the Ta'ang Women's Organisation (WTO) said.
There are no eyewitnesses, but local officials and Mai Aike Zaup's family said that the soldiers opened fire as the teens ran away. The two friends thought that the armed men were TNLA rebels, a group operating in the region.
Mai Aike Zaup was hit several times before collapsing to the ground, whilst his friend managed to escape.
The young man’s family said the soldiers realised their mistake and apologised for killing their son and paid them 2 million kyat (,311) in compensation.
TWO is now considering how to take legal action against the military for the teen’s death but will consult with the family to determine its wishes.