Myanmar Junta files charges against two soldiers | Asia| An in-depth look at news from across the continent | DW | 10.09.2010
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Myanmar Junta files charges against two soldiers

Authorities in Myanmar have filed charges against two soldiers who allegedly killed two civilians. It is believed that the Junta in Myanmar or Burma, is trying to avert possible protests about the incident.


An Anti-government protest in Myanmar three years ago

The state-run Newspaper, "The New Light of Myanmar", says charges have been filed against the soldiers. On September 4, they allegedly shot two men in the course of a drunken brawl in Bago, 80 kilometers from Yangon. The fight broke out last Saturday when a taxi carrying some officers collided with another taxi carrying the civilians. The civilians, who were reportedly intoxicated, beat up the officers, who had also been drinking. The following brawl led to the officers calling for reinforcements and shots being fired. Two civilians, aged 17 and 21 were killed in the incident.

Soldiers apologise to families

The newspaper has reported the incident as a drunken brawl and not as a fight between the military and the people. It said that the two soldiers had apologised to the families of the dead men personally. It also claimed that some members of the opposition and the foreign media were taking advantage of the situation and inciting protests and riots in the country. There was, it wrote, a "plot" to use the incident to provoke unrest. A memorial service has been planned for Saturday in the home town of the two men who were killed.

Aung San Suu Kyi Flash-Galerie

Youth members of the NLD

Not participating is irresponsible behavior

Clearly, the Junta is trying to stabilise the situation ahead of the upcoming elections in November. State newspapers have reaffirmed that individuals have the right to choose between voting or not voting. They have however referred to those refusing to participate as "irresponsible opportunists."

Meanwhile, the spokesperson for Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi's party, the National League for Democracy NLD, has said that Suu Kyi has stated that people had the right to not cast their votes in the coming elections. They should refrain from voting if they did not know who to vote for.

The election process is viewed as a sham by observers since the NLD was banned from participating. Military junta head Than Shwe has also resigned from his post. He is believed to be planning to take on a leading role in the government that emerges after the elections. According to the 2008 constitution, the military has reserved seats in the parliament.


Editor: Grahame Lucas

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