12 Burma soldiers die in KIA attack in southern Kachin state

More than 12 Burma army soldiers were killed and several more injured following two separate road side bomb attacks on Sunday.  The guerrilla strikes were carried out by members of the Kachin Independence Army as a Burma army column was traveling along the Bhamo (Manmaw) to Nam Hkam road in southern Kachin state, according to eyewitnesses.

The military column consisting of soldiers from Light Infantry Division No. 99 was hit near Man Win while it was traveling from Kai Htik military base to Nam Hkam in Shan state. The first series of explosions took place at Kyauk Phya at 7 AM, this was followed by another round of explosions some four hours later at Sha-U Hkyet at 11 AM, according to witnesses.

Some of the injured survivors appear to have been transported to Nam Hkam while others were sent back to Kai Htik base.

The twin attacks were carried out by units from KIA’s Battalion 1 and 27 based in Manje (or Mansi) township in Bhamo district, said a KIA officer stationed in Southern Kachin state. No KIA personnel were injured or killed as a result of the blasts.

The bulk of the Burma army column was not able to proceed to Nam Hkam because of the attack and instead was forced to return to Kai Htik, according to the KIA official.

Kachin news

Burma: Phyo Wai Aung sentenced to death

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Phyo Wai Aung, 32, an engineer who was charged with alleged involvement in a 2010 bombing at the X2O Water Festival pavilion in Rangoon, was sentenced to death by an Insein Prison Court on Tuesday.

Phyo Wai Aung Photo: AHRCPhyo Wai Aung Photo: AHRC

His lawyer, Kyaw Hoe, told Mizzima the court handed down the death sentence based on charges that included premeditated homicide, unlawful association and violations of the Immigration Act. Phyo Wai Aung pleaded innocent to the charges and said he was tortured during interrogations.

Lawyer Kyaw Hoe said that he would submit an appeal against the verdict issued by Judge Aung Thein of the Rangoon Region Northern District Court in Insein Prison.

“We are not satisfied with the verdict because the legal processes were unfair,” Kyaw Hoe said. “We told the court that he [Phyo Wai Aung] was tortured and forced to confess, so it [the confession] is not legal according to the law. But the court did not accept that so we will appeal.”

A death sentence can only be carried out after the appeal period has expired, he said. Burma has not executed a prisoner since 1988.

On Sunday, the Asia Human Rights Commission issued a statement citing a litany of abuses in handling the Phyo Wai Aung case, including illegal arrest, illegal detention, torture, illegally obtained confession and a closed trial.

On April 15, 2010, three bombs exploded at the X2O water festival pavilion on Kandawgyi Circular Road in Rangoon. Ten people died and about 170 were injured, in what was called the worst terrorist incident in Burma in decades.

Former Police Chief Khin Yi [now Immigration and Population minister] said in a press conference on May 6, 2010, that three members of the organization, Vigorous Burmese Student Warriors (VBSW), based on the Thai-Burmese border, were responsible for the bomb blasts.

On April 23, police arrested Phyo Wai Aung at his home in Pazundaung Township in Rangoon and alleged that he abetted the bomb attack and was a member of VBSW.

AHRC: MYANMAR: Demand open trial, retrial and dropping of contempt proceedings in case of Phyo Wai Aung