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The Ta’ang Women’s Organization (TWO) has released a statement, saying that two ethnic Ta’ang villagers were brutally murdered while another died after stepping on a landmine in an area where armed strife has escalated between Ta’ang and Shan militias.
According to the statement released yesterday, two men, identified as Mon Nyi Za Win, 34, and Mon Aik Tun Oo, 33, disappeared from their village of Manaung on 1 June. Their mutilated dead bodies were found in a forest on 3 June.
The TWO said it condemned any armed group targeting local civilians.
The group also said that a 22-year-old man named Mong Lom Aung Kyi from the village of Kyusai in Namhkam Township died from injuries after he stepped on a landmine on his way to work in a local tea plantation on 1 June.
The SSA-South signed a ceasefire with the Burmese government last year, following which the TNLA has consistently accused the Shan troops of encroaching on its territory in northern Shan State.
Efforts by various armed groups and local political parties to mediate between the two groups has so far been unsuccessful.
The TWO called on all armed groups active in the region to end hostilities and human rights abuses against the local population, including acts such as robbing villagers and forcing them to serve as porters in the conflict zone.
The women’s group called for justice for all slain civilians, and demanded that armed groups refrain from planting landmines in populated areas. It also urged all players to abide by the terms of any ceasefire agreements they had signed, and to adhere to international rules of war.
On 27 May, the TWO was a co-signatory on a statement expressing concerns about rising tensions between the two ethnic communities.
“The Shan and the Ta’ang are two ethnic groups who have been living in peaceful coexistence on the same land for time long past,” the statement read. “But, now both of them are in the same boat, fleeing the armed conflict as refugees and suffering human rights violations under the current military/political situations.”