RANGOON — The Burmese military has launched an investigation into allegations that a soldier raped a 13-year-old girl in the country’s southeast, amid continued reports by civilians that sexual abuse by armed forces remains a dire problem despite political reforms.
A soldier from the Burma Army’s Infantry Battalion 32 has been accused of raping the girl at her home in Kawzar sub-township, Mon State, while her parents were away. He was reportedly visiting the house to pick up dry vegetation to build thatched roofs for his battalion’s housing.
The girl was discovered by a community leader, who brought her to a local hospital. “The girl told me that her hands were tied and she was raped,” he told The Irrawaddy on Tuesday, requesting anonymity due to the sensitivity of the case. He said a medical examination confirmed the rape.
The community leader added that the victim’s family reported the incident to their village head, but was threatened by the concerned battalion to keep quiet and given compensation of 500,000 kyats (US$500) in return for cooperation.
The New Mon State Party (NMSP), the main ethnic rebel organization in Mon State, sent a complaint letter about the case to the state’s highest government official, Chief Minister Ohn Myint.
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