A community leader in northern Shan State’s Hsipaw Township was shot dead by an unknown gunman or group on Sunday, according to local source.
Sai Kyaw Sein, the headman of Nam Ma tract, told Shan Herald that the village headman, Sai Sarng Pe, aged 57, was killed on February 26 at about 4:30pm near his farm in Nar Koon, Nam Ma tract, Hsipaw Township. He said that the victim was pronounced dead at the scene.
“Sai Sarng Pe is the leading member of the community in Nam Ma tract,” he said. “No one knows who shot him and who is behind the murder.”
He said that he was shot at close range, a matter deduced by the fact that his body was beside his car which was not hit by any bullets.
“The gunman was clearly experienced with weapons because the shots were to vital areas such as his forehead and his stomach,” he said.
“We want this case to bring to justice because Sai Sarng Pe was a respected person. He has been one of the community leaders for more 30 years. We want to know the truth about what happened.
“In any case, whether this was related to drugs or logging, the matter should have been taken to court, not resolved in this [violent] way,” he added. “If assassinations are allowed to occur, then no one will want to be village headman. They will be too afraid.”
He said they have reported the matter to the local authorities but have not heard about any progress.
This type of murder is happening in Shan State regularly, according to Sai Hor Hseng, the spokesperson of the Shan Human Rights Foundation (SHRF), an active non-profit organization monitoring, investigating and reporting human rights violations and abuses in the region. He said that this is because there is no rule of law in Burma.
“The law cannot be enforced across the country, especially in remote areas, because there is no rule of law and the government also does not have the power to do it.
“When local people are faced with problems like this they do not know who to ask for help,” he explained. “Even though they are the leaders in the community they are frightened. They are afraid to become headman because they do not want to deal with the problems.”
He added: “Our people have been oppressed for so many years. The government must somehow step in and protect its citizens.”
By Shan Herald Agency for News (SHAN)