Thousands of people turned out in Kachin State capital Myitkyina on Friday to pay their respects at the funeral of Maran Lu Ra and Tangbau Khawn Nan Tsin, the young volunteer teachers who were brutally murdered in a church compound in Muse earlier this week.
A convoy of vehicles and mourners escorted the coffins, draped in white fabric, into Myitkyina after a massive two-day procession around the region where thousands more stood by roadsides in prayer or held candlelit vigils as the hearses drove by.
Susana Hla Hla Soe, a Rangoon-based women’s activist who attended, said: “The caskets carrying the two girls were greeted by locals along the route carrying placards that read ‘Expose Injustice Now’ and ‘Protect Women from Violence’.
“We call on the government to immediately investigate these murders, by forming an independent investigation commission that includes women.”
After arriving in the state capital at 10am, the caskets were carried to the AD-2000 Hall in Nawng Nan Ward where the funeral procession took place. The bodies of the two young women were then buried at the Jaw Bum Baptist Cemetery. Messages of condolences were read out by representatives of the Women’s Organizations Network of Myanmar.
The Myanmar Teachers Federation has released a statement condemning the killing as “the slaughter of Burma’s future and the education sector”.
The mutilated bodies of Maran Lu Ra and Tangbau Khawn Nan Tsin, aged 20 and 21 respectively, were found in their hostel inside the Kachin Baptist Church compound in Muse on Tuesday morning. The pair also appear to have been raped.
Villagers reported hearing muffled noises coming from their room in the early hours, but were too afraid to approach.
A Burmese army battalion had set up base in the village that night, and suspicion for the murders has swiftly fallen on its soldiers.
The young women’s murders have been widely condemned by governments and organisations, both domestic and international, who have voiced outrage and called for a transparent investigation.