Thantlang elders shot dead on return to ghost town

Thantlang elders shot dead on return to ghost town

Pu Ral Tu and Pu Hram Cung, two esteemed community elders from the besieged Chin State town of Thantlang, were killed by security forces yesterday evening after paying a fleeting visit to recover personal belongings.

The community leaders, both 70 years old, had fled to Hakha as part of an almost total exodus of the town’s 15,000 residents in light of a vicious military assault on September 18.

However, as the men reentered Thatlang, their car was fired upon by security forces in an unprovoked attack. The pair died instantly.

“The event  is a sign that all of our lives are under threat,” one of Thantlang’s last remaining residents told DVB.  

“Now, we are also fleeing to Hakha. My wife and I understand that we are now unable to stay in our home in Thantlang anymore.” 

The source and his wife are one of 32 people who had chosen to stay in Thantlang following last week’s attack. DVB has been unable to confirm whether the other 30 residents—largely children and the elderly—are also making plans to follow the pair to Hakha. 

However, according to the man, a Hakha-based Christian Ministries group arrived in Thantlang with a fleet of ten vehicles this morning, urging residents to run. 

The church group had arrived in Thantlang this morning to perform burials at the Christian cemetery.

Following yesterday’s deaths it has been announced that two other passengers are in a critical condition after being shot in the head and shoulder. A total of six people, including a driver, were in the car when troops opened fire. 

Sources told DVB that all four victims—Ral Tu, Zo Peng, Hram Cung and Lawm Bik—are well-trusted local leaders in Thantlang who were known for participating in the administration of matters relating to the town.