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Ta’ang chairman and young family found brutally murdered after January disappearance

S. SHAN —The cremation of Ta’ang Party regional chairman, Mai Nom Han, was held near Mongkaung township’s Pang Pwe village yesterday. The ceremony was attended by over 1,000 people, and came just days after the TNP chief of Mongkaung and family were found to have been brutally murdered after disappearing in January.

Local people say that the RCSS is to blame after the barely recognisable bodies of Ta’ang Party (TNP) politician Mai Nom Han (39), his wife (26), and his 7-month-old daughter were last week discovered bearing multiple gunshot wounds.

A source told local media outlet Shwe Phee Myay that RCSS soldiers were responsible for the killing of the family; a rumor which has persisted since the family went missing in January.

Sources said that the victims’ severely decomposed bodies were discovered on March 9 in a large cave in dense forest near Monkaung’s Ton Law village — close to where the family is alleged to have been taken by RCSS troops on Jan. 10.

All victims had been bound with rope, and had been shot a total of 32 times. A deserter from the RCSS confirmed to VOA that he had witnessed soldiers from the EAO detain the family before their murder, whilst claiming that a child’s hat found by the bodies had been worn by the couple’s seven-month-old child.

Ta’ang civil society groups have said they will continue to seek justice for the family. Maing Nyi Kham, a spokesman for a Ta’ang CSO investigating the killings, said that they had been subjected to an inhumane act.

“They were arrested on January 10 in Tonglaw village, an RCSS-controlled area. Prior to the arrest, [the chairman] had been questioned by the RCSS whilst travelling to his mother’s funeral. They checked his phone for over an hour.”

After the arrest, villagers close to the TNP chairman visited Tonglaw village to perform a search, says Maing Nyi Kham, who recalled that the group was warned not to pursue inquiries as any investigation could implicate the RCSS.

“So the villagers gave up. The dead bodies were found on March 9 — the baby was found dead on the back of its mother.”

The source said that the TNP chairman had faced death threats before the 2020 general elections whilst campaigning in the RCSS-controlled region.

“TNP headquarters sent a letter to RCSS to release its chairman and his family. The RCSS denied carrying out the arrest, saying that three EAOs were in the area at the time. However, an SSPP battalion commander said its forces arrived at Tonglaw village only on Jan. 24, and that only RCSS troops were in the region at the time of the arrest.”

Sai Lian, a member of the RCSS’s Peace Implementation Committee, reiterated his group’s innocence: “Many [Shan] armed groups have operated in the area since October. In January, when the incident occurred, our troops had already left.”

Maing Ga Mai Ja, who was involved in helping the funeral service, told DVB that Mai Nom Han, a young politician who was intimately involved with Ta’ang ethnic affairs, would be hailed as a Ta’ang martyr.

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