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Police officer shot dead by ceasefi

Subject:  Police officer shot dead by ceasefire WA officer

Liberation Alliance of Burma 
Information Department


"No charges would be brought against the Wa officer in the name
of national interest', says the commander of Mandalay Division
Military Command.

'People in the Mandalay area plan to counter violent acts by Wa
officers through non-violent means'.

Mandalay, 25/22/96, Full Mon Day of Tazaung Mone

A police officer was shot dead by 'Wa' revellers during the
Kathin festival in Mandalay last month. Drunken Wa revellers
belonging to the former communist group, which signed a ceasefire
with the Burmese military regime in 1989, caused problems with
local people on November 25 during the Kathin festival. 

When the 'Wa' revellers started causing problems, employees from
'Lone Khen' Hotel called the police for help. The police at the
nearby No.8 Police Station, located in Yodaya Quarter, sensed
possible trouble and a scuffle involving the 'Wa' and decided not
to send less experienced younger officers to the scene. Instead,
a 40-year Police Lieutenant named 'U Saw Maung' was sent to
defuse the problem. This choice was appropriate because U Saw
Maung was an Arakan and not a Burman.   

The noise and disturbance caused by the 'Wa' was so intense that
U Saw Maung finally had to arrest one of the 'Wa' officers. He
hand-cuffed the officer, at which other 'Wa' officers violently
protested. U Saw Maung understood that the situation was
uncontrollable and fired warning shots into the air. At this
point, one of the 'Wa' officers shot him dead in front of hotel
employees and many other locals. He died instantly on the spot. 

Many eye-witnesses went to the police station out of anger to
recount the incident to the police. While the commander of the
police station was filing the case, the commander of the Mandalay
Divisional Military Command arrived at the station. He snatched
the file from the police commander and said in front of the
police and eye-witnesses, 'We cannot let our country be
disintegrated because of the death of a policeman. 'Wa' have been
contributing much to the country. The police, instead, are
destroying the country by taking bribes'.

Police forces in upper Burma, including the Police Commander of
the Mandalay Division, were extremely unhappy with the action and
words of the military commander, but were unable to do anything.

The people who were at the scene of the crime were also
displeased with the whole episode. An eye-witness also reported
that he and many others overheard a soldier, who was with the
Mandalay Military Commander at the police station, express his
disgust at the actions of his commander. He said, "Being a
Burmese has no value. We (soldiers) have to watch all these Wa
opium bandits have their own way in the towns. I wish our paths
will cross'.

Subsequently, the military ordered the police not to file any
charges against the culprit. However, he should have been charged
under Section 302 for murder, which is punishable by death, and
charged for resisting arrest. As well as this, the military
ordered the bereaved family not to place an obituary in the
paper. This order however was reversed at his family's request.

Following this case, Burmans, police officers, and even soldiers
in the Mandalay area have become extremely resentful towards Wa
officers and their unruly behavior, which is sanctioned by the
Burmese military. 

In accordance with the ceasefire agreement, ceasefire groups such
as the Wa are allowed to set up liaison offices in major cities.
These groups have also been allowed to set up businesses. The Wa
is the only such group known to be permitted to carry firearms. 

('Lone Khen' hotel is situated between 76 st and 77 st,
Kansanamahi Quarter in Chan Aye Thazan township, Mandalay).

******Liberation Alliance of Burma (LAB) is a coalition of youth
and students inside Burma working to achieve democracy and human
rights there.

All Burma Students Democratic Front (ABSDF)