Rape and Murder of Teachers: Chronology of Events

The two volunteer teachers, Maran Lu Ra (20) and Tangbau Hkawn Nan Tsin (21), from the Kachin Baptist Convention were raped and killed by the Burmese army’s 503rd Light Infantry Regiment (LIR) soldiers under Maj. Aung Soe Myint inside the Kawnghka Baptist Church Compound (Latitude: 24° 0’13.49″N, Longitude: 98° 4’30.02″E) at Shabuk Kawnghka village  in Muse Township, northern Shan State on Jan 19, 2015. Neighbors found the two naked bodies with marks on their bodies that bear the mark of inhumane tortures.

Local sources say those who have been assigned to investigate the case are conducting their duties amid fear of reprisals. Police officers from Muse, high ranking officers from Lashio and state capital Taung Gyi, and Shan State’s Kachin Affairs Minister were tasked with investigating the case.

More Burmese army troops arrive in Kawnghka village since the investigation has begun. One local source says Burmese troops had virtually surrounded the entire village area. Villagers live in an environment of fear and intimidation because of heavy military presence.

KIA sources and other ethnic militia groups say none of their troops were in the area during that time because of Burmese military presence and the village itself is located on the main highway road.

All paths that led to Kawnghka village were guarded by Burmese army soldiers on the night crime took place. The nearest house where Burmese army soldiers quartered is just about 65 yards away from the teachers’ house.

The following chronology lists the sequence of events on the day of rape and murder, and the following day.

7 am, Jan 19, 2015: About 40 Burmese army soldiers from 503rd LIR, under Kyaukme-based 1st Military Operations Command, led by Maj. Aung Soe Myint arrived in Kawnghka village, located between Nam Tau and Mung Paw in Muse Township, from Mongkoe area on Jan 19 at around 7 am.

Jan 19: Maj. Aung Soe Myint and about 20 soldiers had quartered in three civilian homes as villagers were being commanded to provide quarter for them. 20 other soldiers positioned themselves in groups around the village to guard against intruders.

6 pm, Jan 19: The two teachers went to a birthday party of the child of 10-houses headman in the evening. The headman’s house is located about 190 yards from the church compound where the teachers live.

9 pm, Jan 19: The 2 teachers went to a bench latrine in the backyard of the headman’s house and saw some Burmese soldiers standing on sentry duty. They went back inside the headman’s house and told the hosts about their encounter with Burmese soldiers.

10 pm, Jan 19: The 2 teachers returned to their home at about 10 pm with some villagers. A local source said those soldiers had followed the 2 teachers to their home in church compound.

1 am, Jan 20: Three villagers from a nearby house went to look the teachers’ house as they heard crying and groaning sounds. The three villagers found the door locked and didn’t hear any sound when they knocked the door. So they returned to their house.

4 am, Jan 20: Two four-wheeled cars departed from Burmese army’s camp on Jan 20 at around 4 am. One more truck departed at around 7 am.

7 am, Jan 20: One student came to the teachers’ house and called their names but there was no reply.

8:30 am, Jan 20: Another neighbor pushed the door and found the bodies of the two teachers. More villagers came to the crime scene.

9 am, Jan 20: Witnesses found that both teachers were stabbed several times with a kitchen knife and badly beaten on their heads. Villagers found one wooden stick used for fireplace and several footprints of army combat boots.

Jan 20: Some villagers were stopped by Burmese army soldiers and asked to delete their pictures taken at the crime scene.

Jan 20: About 200 more Burmese army troops arrived in Kawnghka village and surrounded the entire village.