The Burma Army arrested and tortured five villagers suspected of associating with the RCSS, on March 21, in Kyawkme township, northern Shan State.

The tortured villagers were  Sai Aik Mann, Sai Kyaw Jing, Sai Keang, and Sai Htay, and a woman Nang Twe. They were beaten in the face, neck and body so badly, that some couldn’t walk.

The torture took place when about 200 troops of Burma Army Light Infantry Battalions 77 and 503, attacked Ngar Jarng village, in Kyawkme township. The Burma Army also fired mortar shells into Ngar Jarng village. One fell on the house of a villager called Sai Mart. The other two fell besides the village.

The Ngar Jarng village headman Sai Jarm also was arrested after the Burma Army searched his house and found a gun. He was taken to at Sai Aung Mo, the head of Mongtarng militia, then tortured and interrogated. On March 23, the Burma Army referred Sai Jarm to Kyawkme police. When Sai Jarm’s relatives tried to visit him, the police did not allow them to meet him, saying they were in the process of interrogating him.

Sai Kham Kyaw, the head of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) in Kyawkme said:  “The Burma Army found a walky-talky at a restaurant at Ngar Jarng village, so they accused the villagers of being spies of a rebel group. We will help the case so that the headman can be released soon.”

Ngar Jarng village is about 20 miles from Kyawkme township. The Burma Army has reinforced its troops in the area to at least 500 soldiers.

On March 24, the Burma Army also arrested and tortured Sai Aung Leng, the owner of a restaurant in Nam Lin Pone village, Kyawkme, where the Burma Army found the tax bill of a rebel group.