7 Myanmar soldiers imprisoned for village murders in rare case

Mong Yaw: Myanmar has sentenced seven soldiers to five years of hard labour . After they confessed to killing five villagers from an ethnic minority in June, state media said on Friday.

Out of the seven soldiers four of them were officers They all will serve their time in civilian prisons. The case is a rare example of a military prosecution in Myanmar.

These soldiers have often been accused of serious human rights abuses in Myanmar’s long-running wars with ethnic armed groups, but the allegations are rarely acknowledged. The sentences were handed down in a military court on Thursday.

The justice for the June killings was demanded by the Activist Sai Kaung Kham, who helped the families of the ethnic minority men in Mong Yaw village.
He said he was surprised the military had taken any action at all. “The fact they have been sentenced to imprisonment is better than nothing.”

The military denied responsibility for the deaths of two other men killed fleeing the village on a motorcycle.

Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, was run by a military junta until 2011. The Military leaders were keen to build military-to-military ties with Western armies. They made efforts to present the still- powerful army as a responsible partner in country’s transition.

After the killings in Mong Yaw, one of the military’s highest- ranking officers held an unprecedented news conference in July to reveal that soldiers were responsible for the deaths of the five residents.