Former judge among two killed as soldiers open fire on vehicle in Thantlang

Soldiers killed two people including a former judge and injured two others last week when they shot at a van near the Chin State town of Thantlang as it returned from a meeting about helping people displaced by recent junta attacks. 

Seventy-year-old Ral Tu, who worked as a judge during the reign of Ne Win and was also a minister for several Christian congregations, was killed in the attack on Thursday, a local said. 

“He was an elder the whole town of Thantlang depended on,” he told Myanmar Now, requesting anonymity. 

Hram Cung, a carpenter, was also killed. The two were given Christian burials at the cemetery in Thantlang the following day.

Zo Peng, 50, sustained a head injury and Than Heng, 78, injured his back during the shooting. Six people were travelling in the car on their way back from the meeting with religious leaders in the nearby town of Hakha at the time of the attack. 

The victims had all recently fled their homes amid fighting between the junta and resistance forces and were staying in a shelter in a village near Thantlang.  

“They were shot one furlong from the welcome sign at the entrance of the village,” a second local said. 

The victims had notified the military about their trip before travelling, the local added. Military representatives in Thantlang did not answer calls seeking comment. 

Last Monday resistance fighters from the Chinland Defence Force (CDF) attacked soldiers in Thantlang, which has been largely deserted. 

On September 18, a joint force of fighters belonging to the CDF and the Chin National Army attacked a junta base in Thantlang, reportedly killing around 30 soldiers.

In retaliation, the military opened fire on the town with artillery, destroying 18 homes and a government building. Soldiers shot a pastor dead as he tried to put out the fires caused by the shells. Most of the town’s 8,000 residents fled.

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