Three Myanmar soldiers admit to rape of Rakhine woman

Major General Zaw Min Tun, chair of the Tatmadaw’s True News agency, said the three soldiers admitted to the crime the second time they were questioned by a military enquiry.

The woman, from Oo Gar village in Rathedaung township, reported the crime to Sittwe police on July 2, but during the initial military investigation, the accused brought witnesses to dispute the accusation.

“After the three soldiers produced witnesses,” Brig Gen Zaw Min Tun said, “we stood by them and told the public that it was impossible they committed the rape. But we had reasons to doubt when we checked the witnesses again.

“We conducted a second investigation at the court of inquiry, and they admitted the crime. Therefore, the military court will take action against the three soldiers under the 1959 Defence Services Act and also civilian laws.”

He said that the military will not tolerate any wrongdoing by its personnel. “We will not forgive those who commit crimes against civilians. We take it seriously,” he said.

The victim asked Sittwe police to reopen the case against the three soldiers.

She said the soldiers entered the village around 6pm on June 29 firing shots, most villagers fled but she stayed behind to protect her daughters, one of whom had just given birth six days before.

She said the soldiers began inspecting each house. By about 11pm four of them, hearing her grandchild crying, came to her house.

The soldiers pointed a gun at her and accused her of having a fake identity card, and then raped her.

They then gave her K20,000 (US$15) and warned her not to talk about the rape. She said the soldiers also wanted to rape her 19-year-old daughter who just given birth but her mother-in-law intervened.

Fighting between the Tatmadaw and Arakan Army in Rakhine and Chin states since November 2018 has killed or injured hundreds of civilians.


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