3 Deacons from Mindat presumably lost their lives after being arrested

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – August 02 Scenes

MoeMaKa, August 03, 2023

3 Deacons from Mindat presumably lost their lives after being arrested


4 deacons from a Christian church in Mindat, southern Chin State, were arrested in mid-July, and about 2 weeks later, they are believed to have lost their lives during interrogation by military council troops who arrested them, according to news reports.


According to news reports, the deacons of the church were arrested on suspicion of aiding PDF forces because they had motorcycles parked in front of a Christian church located near the IB-274, and nothing was heard for more than 2 weeks. One of the arrestees, who was thought to be dead and being left somewhere, regained consciousness and escaped, leading to the conclusion of the fate of the remaining 3 like this.


In Myanmar, civilians who are not members of the armed forces are frequently arrested and killed throughout the country. Such cases are frequently heard not only in ethnic regions, Sagaing and Magway in central Myanmar and Tanintharyi and Bago in the south, but also in big cities like Yangon and Mandalay. Most of the incidents were committed by the military council, and a few were by PDF armed groups with the reason of being junta informants and Pyu Saw Htee members.


In the history of Myanmar’s decades-long civil war, although it was not in the code of conduct, both the government forces and the ethnic armed groups have practiced the execution of those captured in the battle after extracting information they wanted to know. Those captured on the battlefield are only taken to court for propaganda purposes or for the purpose of exchanging prisoners.


The Myanmar government’s troops have followed such unwritten practical practices in the battles with the Communist Party of Burma (CBP) or in the battles with ethnic armed groups. In the two years since the military coup, not only the armed members, but civilians who are considered to be supporters, cheerleaders, and helpers, regardless of gender, adults or minors, have been reportedly beaten, tortured, and killed.


It can be concluded that the leaders of the military council will surely know that the soldiers and officers of the lower battalions are committing such acts. If we try to figure out why such acts that are not in line with international law and the laws of Myanmar, serious human rights violations, and war crimes are allowed, the military council aims to instill fear in the public so that civilians do not come into contact with the armed groups, even if it is not at the level of helping the armed groups, Another point is that the military council has allowed the soldiers and military officers who were fighting on its side to do whatever they wanted. In other words, with the mentality of a monster in the front of the war, the whole purpose is assumed to be to win the enemy without having to care anything about the laws, procedures, battlefield ethics, or rules that must be put in place for the civilians.


Now, the incident of the 3 deacons at Mindat Church is one of the many incidents referred to above. While hundreds of such incidents are committed by the military council, some incidents are also committed by the PDF, the People’s Defense Forces.


As an example, in a village in Chaung-U Township, 7 youths who were plastic pickers were arrested by the village’s people’s defense forces on suspicion of being informants, and some of them were raped, killed, and their bodies were kept hidden. Regarding this incident, it is still not known how the perpetrators and those who will be held responsible have been punished or whether they are still being prosecuted. This is one of a small number of such incidents this year.


The incidents in Moso Village in Hpruso Township, Nam Neng Village in Pinlaung Township, Mon Taing Pin Village, and Sone Chaung Village are well-known examples of the crimes committed by the military council that are frequently covered by the media.


Documenting the violations of human rights against civilians is also very important for accountability one day.


However, while it is important to record who is responsible for what happened and how it happened, I think it is more important to find a way of how to prevent and reduce such killings from happening again.