Thu 20 Aug 2009, IMNA
On August 19th, 5 soldiers from Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) No. 32, are believed to have drowned, as one body has washed up in the river. However, some believe the remaining soldiers may have deserted.
During a regular rotation, the troops from LIB No. 32 left their base at Three Pagoda Pass to return to the battalion headquarters in Kyainnseikyi Township. During their return trip, the Burmese soldiers forded the Zemi River. While crossing as a single file column, the last 5 soldiers of nearly 30 that had crossed were swept down river, according to sources close to the event.
Soldiers from the unit immediately searched for the 5 missing soldiers but no bodies were found. Later, according to a source involved in the search, a body of one of the missing soldiers was recovered further down river, drowned.
“After they sank in the river the leader and his soldiers were trying to find out what had happened, but today found one of the soldiers was found dead,” a local source said to IMNA. “The search has continued for the 4 remaining lost soldiers.”
According to the source, the four soldiers disappeared with full military kit, and rumors have spread about whether they had all really drowned or whether they have defected from the battalion.
“About 5 days ago 2 of their [LIB No. 32] soldiers defected from the base in Three Pagodas Pass,” a resident who refused to give his name, told IMNA. “That’s why they are worried about the losing soldiers.”
1 Burmese soldier drowns, 4 remain missing