The Tatmadaw True News Information Team released a statement on September 16 saying it would take action under the military justice system against three soldiers for the gang rape of a woman in Ugar village, Rathedaung Township.
A Myanmar military battalion entered Ugar village at about 6 p.m. on June 29 and found the mother of four and her relatives hiding in their home during what it described as “clearance operations” against Arakan Army troops in the area.
They threatened the 36-year-old woman at gunpoint and raped her in a nearby house, she told the media in July. The three soldiers also intended to rape the victim’s 19-year-old daughter, but her mother-in-law begged them not to because the younger woman had given birth just six days earlier, she added.
The victim filed a case against the three servicemen under Sections 376, 366 and 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure at the Sittwe Myoma police station on July 10.
The Tatmadaw True News Information Team says the military launched a probe into the case, with some delays because Ugar village is in a military operations area and the suspects to be investigated were assigned to locations with poor road access. The military said it conducted an internal investigation into the accused soldiers in July, at which time the three denied the allegations.
The military received additional evidence that prompted further investigation in early September, the Tatmadaw True News Information Team said. During the second investigation, one of the soldiers confessed, so the military has formed a court-martial and is taking action, the Tatmadaw’s public relations unit said.
In a statement on July 2, however, the military had previously called the victim’s rape claims “fabrications” meant to “mislead the public.”
Civil society organisations assisting the victim want the woman to be afforded due process under the law, saying the case must be transferred to a civilian court in order to ensure justice for her.