The United States has called on Myanmar to investigate the deaths of two ethnic Kachin teachers, amid allegations by activists that the women were raped and murdered by government forces.
US State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, urged Myanmar to look into the case on Wednesday, as anger erupted in the country’s far north conflict-wracked region.
“We call on authorities to investigate this crime and bring the perpetrators to justice,” Psaki said.
Images of the women’s corpses were widely circulated on social media, with activists saying the two teachers were raped and killed by government forces.
Local villagers told Burmese news site Irrawaddy, that the Burmese army’s 503rd Light Infantry Battalion was stationed near the remote village in northern Shan state when the women were killed.
A medical report said the two died from penetration wounds to their liver, lungs and head.
Zau Ra, secretary of the Kachin Baptist Convention, told The Associated Press news agency, their private parts had also been violated, adding he was “shocked and saddened” by the news.
The country’s military has been accused of carrying out abuses against civilians as part of their fight against ethnic rebels, and recently launched fresh attacks in Kachin state, trapping more than 1,000 civilians in several villages.
Around 100,000 people have been displaced in the remote, resource-rich state bordering China since a 17-year ceasefire between the government and Kachin rebels broke down in June 2011.
The Kachin, like Myanmar’s other ethnic minorities, have long sought greater autonomy from the central government.