Dooplaya Incident Report: Killing in Kyainseikgyi Township, March 2015

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Dooplaya Incident Report: Killing in Kyainseikgyi Township, March 2015

Published date:
Friday, May 6, 2016

This Incident Report describes the killing of an innocent civilian, Saw Thaw Nyay, by fellow villagers, Saw Hey Thaw and four of his friends, in Kyaw Kay Koh village, Noh Ta Kaw Township, Dooplaya District on March 15th 2015. The murder was committed using an AK-47 rifle obtained by Saw Hey Thaw from an unknown KNU/KNLA-Peace Council soldier. A fortune teller named Thara S--- had instigated the murder by telling a mourning parent, Saw Maung Kya, that his child’s death was a result of black magic, rather than the doctors’ diagnosis of blood cancer. This statement lead the parent to suspect and accuse his neighbor, Saw Thaw Nyay, of practicing witchcraft with the intent of killing innocent people, and consequentially to ask Saw Hey Thaw to kill Saw Thaw Nyay on his behalf. 

Incident Report | Kyainseikgyi Township, Dooplaya District (March 2015)

The following Incident Report was written by a community member in Dooplaya District who has been trained by KHRG to monitor local human rights conditions. It is presented below translated exactly as originally written, save for minor edits for clarity and security.[1] This report was received in May 2015 along with other information from Dooplaya District, including one other incident report, seven interviews, three situation updates, 194 photographs and 14 video clips.[2]

Part 1 – Incident Details

Type of Incident 

Killing

Date of Incident(s)

March 15th 2015

Incident Location

(Village, Township and District)

Kyaw Kay Koh village, Noh Ta Kaw Township, Dooplaya District.

 

Victim Information

Name

Saw Thaw Nyay

Age

47

Sex

Male

Nationality

Karen

Family   

Married

Occupation

Odd jobs

Religion

Buddhist

Position

Villager

Village

Kyaw Kay Koh

 

Perpetrator Information

Name(s)           

Rank

Unit

Base

Commander’s Name

Saw Hey Thaw

Villager

Not soldier

Born in Kyaw Kay Koh and Married in Plaw Hpa Htaw

Villager

Part 2 - Information Quality

1. Explain in detail how you collected this information.

On March 15th 2015, around 9:23 PM, when Saw Thaw Nyay and his youngest son [who is] seven years old were home alone, he [Saw Thaw Nyay] was shot by Saw Hey Thaw using a KNU/KNLA-PC[3] AK-47 gun.  He was hit in his neck and [the bullet] went out through the other side [of his neck].

 

2. Explain how the source verified this information.

Village tract leader Saw Bleh Dah gave me the information because the incident happened close to his house. After the occurrence, he called for an investigation, and as he is the village tract leader, the information is true.

Part 3 – Complete Description of the Incident

Describe the Incident(s) in complete detail. For each incident, be sure to include 1) when the incident happened, 2) where it happened, 3) what happened, 4) how it happened, 5) who was involved, and 6) why it happened. Also describe any villager response(s) to the incident, the aftermath and the current living situation of the victims. Please use the space prepared below, and create an attachment if needed.

On March 15th 2015, around 9:23 PM, a villager named Saw Thaw Nyay, 47 years old, was shot by a gun. There were five people involved in this case, and they are: Saw Hey Thaw, Saw Maung Kya, Saw Aye Phu, Saw Baw K'Shu and Saw Tay Meh. These five people were led by Saw Hey Thaw and planned to assassinate Saw Thaw Nyay as they claimed that he has the ability of practicing witchcraft, being capable of killing someone with the power of black magic. At that time, Saw Hey Thaw was living in Plaw Hpa Htaw village and he asked for a gun from KNU/KNLA-PC Battalion #710 Company #4, led by Company Commander Kyo Kler. As he asked for the gun from an unknown KNU/KNLA-PC soldier, they just gave him the gun without questioning anything, [and without asking] about the purpose for which he wanted [the gun]. After the incident, the village tract leader, village head, and vice village head, and [the person in charge of] security gathered together to investigate the case. After two days [of investigating] they found out the [details of the] problem [murder case], so they immediately submitted it to the superior court [referring to the Dooplaya district KNU court] to take action against the perpetrators. From March 15th to 19th, they [the village tract leaders] set up security for the community [hired guards to protect the community and arrest the perpetrators of the murder] and now Saw Hey Thaw had been arrested and handed over to the police, and four of his friends were [also] arrested. Saw Thaw Nyay, who was killed, was known as a quiet person, clean from unlawful acts and with no criminal record. Among those who [were complicit in] killing Saw Thaw Nyay was Saw Maung Kya, whose child was sick for five to six years and had died in the hospital because of blood cancer, which could no longer be cured. As Saw Maung Kya loved his child very much, he went to a fortune teller called Thara[4] S--- to tell him what had happened to his child and the fortune teller said to [Saw] Maung Kya, "Your son died by black magic". At that time, Saw Maung Kya lived close to Saw Thaw Nyay and they were neighbours, so he accused Saw Thaw Nyay of doing it [killing his child with black magic]. For this reason, he asked Saw Hey Thaw to kill Saw Thaw Nyay.

Part 4 - Permission for Using the Details

Did the victim(s) provide permission to use this information? Explain how that permission was provided.

An eyewitness, Saw Bleh Dah, allowed us to use the information, and suggested that leaders [of any kind] be careful [when] handling armed soldiers who are holding guns and [asked] any person who acts as a fortune teller not to decide [or suggest] to hand a gun to someone else [so] easily. Any leader who has authority should be aware of this kind of incident and carefully consider reminding and ensuring every single soldier is careful and does not give or create problems among civilians.

Footnotes

[1] KHRG trains community members in southeast Burma/Myanmar to document individual incidents of abuse using a standardised reporting format; conduct interviews with other villagers; and write general updates on the situation in areas with which they are familiar. When writing incident reports, community members are encouraged to document incidents of abuse that they consider to be important, by verifying information from multiple sources, assessing for potential biases and comparing to local trends.

[2] In order to increase the transparency of KHRG methodology and more directly communicate the experiences and perspectives of villagers in eastern Burma/Myanmar, KHRG aims to make all field information received available on the KHRG website once it has been processed and translated, subject only to security considerations. For additional reports categorised by Type, Issue, Location and Year, please see the Related Readings component following each report on KHRG’s website.

[3] The KNU/KNLA Peace Council (also called the Karen Peace Council or KPC), is an armed group based in Htoh Gkaw Ko, Hpa-an District, which split from the Karen National Union (KNU) in 2007 and subsequently refused to comply with orders from the then-SPDC government to transform its forces into the Tatmadaw Border Guard. See: “KPC to be outlawed if it rejects BGF,” Burma News International, August 30th 2010.

[4] Thara (male) or theramu (female) is a Karen term used for any teacher, pastor, or any person to whom one wishes to show respect.