Firearms stolen from military armoury used in robbery

May 11, 2009 (DVB), An armed robbery on a gold shop in Mandalay division that left one dead and two injured was carried out using firearms stolen from a government armoury, according to Burmese military intelligence.

The robbery took place on 6 May on a shop in Mandalay's Yamaethin town. According to the brother of the shop owner, who was shot in the shoulder, three masked men entered around 3.45pm.

"They waited until the street was clear before coming into the shop," said Myo Thein.

"Then they fired three shots in the air and walked in but people in the shop thought they were just some kids playing around with firecrackers."

Myo Thein said that the men started shooting at the glass counter holding the jewellery.

"Our youngest sister, named Daw Cho Pyone, noticing that they were holding only one gun, jumped up and tried to wrestle the person holding it," he said.

"He dropped the weapon but managed to grab it back and then shot her on her thigh."

Cho Pyone, who suffered a broken thigh bone, remains in Mandalay hospital in Mandalay.

The government's Military Affairs Security in Magwe division's Yesagyo town confirmed that the weapon and ammunition used in the robbery were stolen from an army stockpile on 4 April.

A Yesagyo resident last week voiced suspicion that the army were involved in the break-in.

"It is impossible to do it without the participation of at least family members of the army," he said.

"Outsiders dare not come to this kind of territory. They are afraid, as you could be shot if you are too close to the army [camp].

"It is possible that they want to smuggle weapons for sale."

Senior police and intelligence officials in Magwe are investigating the incident.

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw

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