Army recruits murder suspect as soldier

Nov 21, 2008 (DVB), Villagers from Nat Sat village in Bago have expressed disappointment over the military’s recruitment of a man suspected of the murder of a 14-year-old girl from the village.

Zay Lay (also known as Zayar Soe), a resident of Nat Sat village, was wanted by the police for the suspected murder of his next door neighbour's daughter Wut Yee Hnin, known as Sabai, on 22 September 2007.

The girl’s father said he had reported her missing after she went out with Zayar Soe and never came back.

"That morning, she was preparing meal for us as we were planning to go to the monastery," her father said.

"Then our next door neighbour Zayar Soe showed up and asked her to go with him so she did," he said.

"But she never returned home so we filed a missing person report at the police station."

After the provincial police had gathered evidence and interrogated Zayar Soe, they changed the focus of the investigation from a missing person case to a murder and robbery inquiry.

"Zayar Soe fled the village and the police issued a warrant for his arrest," the girl's father said.

"The police searched for him all over the region but he was nowhere to be found."

The girl's father said that Zayar Soe was now a soldier with the identification number P/384905 in the local Light Infantry Battalion 216’s brigade 11, led by lieutenant Zaw Htike.

Zayar Soe was immediately arrested when he returned to Nat Sat village as a soldier but he could not be held because he had joined the army.

"He just came back into the village in a military uniform and was immediately arrested by the police accompanied by local authorities such as the ward Peace and Development Council and the Union Solidarity and Development Association," the father explained.

"But lieutenant Zaw Htike who was with him at the time said it was an army matter as Zayar Soe is now a soldier," he went on.

"So the police had to hand him back to the army but the army official never charged him with anything," he said.

"We filed a complaint about this to senior general Than Shwe and other government leaders such as the minister of home affairs and police chief Khin Yee on 22 December but nothing has been done about it so far."

Bago police station was unavailable for comment.

Reporting by Nan Kham Kaew

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