A body of a Kachin man who was arrested by the Burmese military has been found.
Galau Bawm Yaw was arrested under suspicion of being connected to the Kachin Independence Army (KIA). Several days after his arrest the authorities claimed they released him. But his wife said he wasn’t released. Bawm Yaw’s mutilated body was found on July 22.
According to villagers, his body showed obvious signs of being tortured while under arrest.
“Galau Bawm Yaw body was discovered in the trench near a former Burmese post. They (Burmese troops) buried him there. We also found a hoe and bamboo pole which looks like it was used to carry his body to the trench. Galau Bawm Yaw’s body was covered in plastic. His head was nearly destroyed and body was swollen with several wounds. Doctors in Pangsai hospital said Bawm Yaw’s skull was fractured,” said one villager.
Galau Bawm Yaw and 26 men from Yi Hku village in Pangsai (Kyokok) town, in northern Shan state were arrested by government troops.
According to a local, the men were arrested following a clash between Burmese Battalion 109, 123, and 45 and KIA Battalion 36 on the morning of July 1. Government troops took them to the Pangsai police station and released most of them the same night, after a headman lobbied on their behalf.
Burmese military kept Galau Bawm Yaw and two other men under arrest.
The other two men were released on July 4 after the soldiers realized they were Chinese and not Kachin. But Galau Bawm Yaw was not released even though authorities told the headman he had been set free.
According to a villager his body was discovered by a woman.
“A Chinese woman told residents of Galau Bawm Yaw’s village that she found a corpse. His family members went to see it before reporting the discovery to their pastors who advised to look into the matter. Other villagers went to look. On July 28, members of the community, several police officers and a doctor dug up of Galau Bawm Yaw’s corpse,” said a villager.
According to Galau Bawm Yaw’s wife, she and other family members tried to convince the police to open an investigation into the cause of his death but were told they were busy investigating the two Chinese men who were reportedly tortured by Burmese soldiers before being released.
“I don’t have much to say. At least the body of my husband has been found. We gave him a proper burial. I suppose I should be satisfied with that.”
A prayer ceremony for Galau Bawm Yaw will be held on August 1.