A teenager, who was brutally assaulted by soldiers from the Burmese army after a minor traffic collision two weeks ago, has died from injuries sustained in the attack, according to his mother.
Sixteen-year old Than Htike Aung from Henzada township in Burma’s Irrawaddy division accidentally hit a soldier from his local army battalion while driving his motorbike on 14 December. Witnesses say he was then attacked and beaten by a group of other soldiers.
“He got off the bike to help the man up and bystanders said he was held up and punched by the soldiers,” explained his mother, Kyi Kyi Khin. “When we arrived at the scene, we were not allowed to go near him.”
She said there were many bystanders who witnessed the incident.
Than Htike Aung began suffering from a headache about three days after the attack and sought medical treatment at the local clinic and hospital. The family eventually decided to send him to the Neurological Hospital in Rangoon, where he died in the afternoon of 27 December.
“I stayed by him at the hospital almost the entire time and it hurt me so much. He was unable to sit without a support on his back. I overheard a doctor saying to a nurse that one of his organs was probably damaged,” said Kyi Kyi Khin.
The family has opened a case against the soldiers at Henzada police station. Although Infantry Battalion officials came to see the family to inquire for Than Htike Aung’s condition, they did not pay for any medical expenses, said the mother.
Impunity within the armed forces continues to hamper the democratic transition in Burma, as the country slowly emerges from decades of military rule. Although the army has vowed to make itself accountable to civilian law, rights activists say soldiers are rarely prosecuted.