Two ethnic minority Kachin Christian refugees were found murdered on 8 March 2018. The men had been shot through the mouth. Human rights organisations have stated they had been arrested by soldiers from the Myanmar military.
The bodies of 60-year-old U Hpaugan Yaw and 30-year-old Ko Nhkum Naw San were found on 8 March, six weeks after the pair went missing; they had left the Mansi refugee camp in northern Kachin state where they had been living to search for missing water buffalo.
Police are now investigating the murders. At the time of writing, no one has been arrested, although multiple people who have said they witnessed the murders have come forward to police.
In January 2018, two Myanmar Army soldiers and four officers were jailed for ten years by a military court for killing three refugees in May 2017. However, many atrocities committed by the military against ethnic minorities go unpunished.
Although Western media has recently focused on the plight of Rohingya Muslims, Kachin Christians in Myanmar have been targeted for decades in what the government claims is a campaign against Kachin separatist groups.
One 80-year-old Kachin Christian widow, who has been displaced since 2012 , recounts that her home has been burned down twice by the army: “Our house was burned down, our cows were killed, I had to flee and lost everything I owned. I still have faith in God, but sometimes it is very difficult to see our people suffering. I am an old lady, but I pray that God will take care of my children, my grand-children and our Kachin people. I pray for their future.”