Hitmen kill Christian leader in Myanmar’s Kachin state

Village authorities are still investigating the identity of the assassins.
By RFA Burmese
2024.03.19
Hitmen kill Christian leader in Myanmar’s Kachin state Nammye Hkun Jaw Li, a clergyman from Nam Ma Tee city, Mogaung township, Kachin state was killed by unknown gunmen on March 18, 2024.
RFA

Gunmen in northern Myanmar assassinated a religious leader in a Christian community in what sources close to the man’s family are calling a targeted attack.

Three men carrying guns stormed 47-year-old Nammye Hkun Jaw Li’s computer shop in Kachin state’s Mogaung township on Monday. 

“Three men came and said they wanted to print on vinyl and shot him dead. They shot him in his stomach twice, and when he did not die, they also shot him in the head,” said a source close to the family in Nam Ma Tee village, asking to remain anonymous for security reasons. 

Nammye Hkun Jaw Li was active in anti-military protests in Kachin state and a well-known community leader. He was also a former township executive of the Kachin Baptist Convention and a member of a community-based anti-drug organization called Pat Jasan.

Nam Ma Tee villagers are still investigating the identity of the men who killed Nammye Hkun Jaw Li, who is survived by his wife and three children.

Political fighting in Kachin state has taken a religious turn before.

Nearly two years after the country’s 2021 military coup, the junta ordered the arrest of prominent Christian leader Hkalam Samson on Dec. 4, 2022 for his close ties to the Kachin Independence Army. He was sentenced to six years in prison on April 7, 2023.

The area has also seen a resurgence in fighting as rebels take territory from the junta military. The Kachin Independence Army has seized a major road and 14 junta camps in addition to shutting down a regional airport with missile attacks in Kachin state. Junta troops have retaliated with indiscriminate attacks on civilians, torching homes and dropping bombs on villages in February. 

Most recently, junta shelling in Kachin state’s Kan Ni village killed two mothers and their three children, villagers told RFA on Wednesday.

More than 10,000 residents have fled their homes in fear of battles across six townships, including Bhamo and Hpakant, according to a joint statement by civil societies in Kachin state.

A March 16 statement by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners reported 11 civilians were killed in Kachin state from March 1 to 15 by heavy junta artillery and airstrikes.

Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Kiana Duncan and Mike Firn. 

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