‘Soldiers’ kill 3 in armed robbery

Three people were killed and 13 injured last week after a group of men, some dressed in army uniform, fired on villagers in southern Burma’s Rangoon division during an attempted armed robbery.

The five men burst into the house of Daw Kywet Ma at 10pm on 16 May and demanded money. When residents of Dayeloo village in Rangoon’s Kunchangon township surrounded the house, the men opened fire.

“Five soldiers came in; three in uniform with torches on their hats and the other two in civilian clothing,” said one of the residents. “They came into the house and one of them demanded 300,000 kyat [$US300]… one person’s hands were tied at the latrine near the house.”

The resident said that the woman who was tied up managed to escape and shout to other villagers, who then surrounded the house.

“There they opened fire indiscriminately and two villagers died straight away. [The others] all ran away through the backdoor. The men left a bomb…it exploded and one person lost his tongue and ear; another person lost his jaw and tongue.” He added the robbers left behind an assault rifle, an army cap and a bullet.

Six of the wounded were sent to Rangoon General Hospital; one of those, a man called Yin Aye, died the following day. The remaining seven were sent to Kunchangon hospital. The robbers made off with two million kyat ($US200,000) and some gold.

Kunchangon police station confirmed two deaths and said the matter is still being investigated. When asked if the robbers wore army uniform, the officer on duty said: “We don’t about that yet. We are still investigating.”

The Dayeloo resident who spoke to DVB said that there was no army base at the village although an infantry and a navy base were close by. Security has reportedly been tightened around the area after the incident.

Crime and corruption is rife within the Burmese army, largely as a result of poor wages and living conditions. Lower-ranking soldiers are often forced to survive on $US10 a month and dissent against seniors is met with physical punishment.

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