Rape-murder of 15-year-old girl sparks protest in northern Myanmar

Thousands demonstrate in military-controlled area, urging authorities to clamp down on crimes.
By RFA Burmese
2024.05.14
Rape-murder of 15-year-old girl sparks protest in northern Myanmar Protesters in Puta-O township, Kachin state, protest against child rape on May 13, 2024.
(Citizen journalist)

Thousands of northern Myanmar residents took to the streets on Monday in a rare public protest to express their anger and grief over the rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl whose body was discovered in a field, residents told Radio Free Asia.

The case occurred in Puta-O township, in Kachin state, a relatively peaceful town that has remained under military control even as much of the rest of the state has seen fierce fighting between junta and rebel groups.

While one suspect has been arrested, local news outlet 7Stars News reported, others are believed to remain at large, drawing ire from the public.

The demonstration took the form of a funeral procession, and the victim was buried at the close of the march, the outlet said.

Protesters urged authorities to do more to stop child rape, cases of which are believed to have risen in the area since the February 2021 military coup, according to Kachin News Group .

In photos of the march, demonstrators can be seen wearing black arm bands and carrying signs reading, "Let's help each other to eradicate any child rapes and murders," and, "Please take effective actions against anyone who committed child rape.”

“Protesters went around in the wards, namely Duttan, Lone Swut, Kaung Ka Htaung, Air field, Out Gyient and Myoma, and they called for the end of child rape,” a local who declined to be identified for security reasons told Radio Free Asia.

Translated by Aung Naing. Edited by Abby Seiff and Malcolm Foster. 

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