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Authorities in Burma will investigate a video that appears to show members of the armed forces beating, kicking and violently interrogating several people, the government said on Wednesday.
Human rights advocates urged the government of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi to investigate after the footage, showing soldiers kicking men in the face as well as holding a machete to a man’s throat, went viral over the weekend.
Burma’s armed forces have often been accused of abuses by human rights groups and Western governments during decades of conflict with myriad ethnic armed groups.
The clip surfaced on social media as some of Burma’s ethnic armed groups gathered last week in the capital Naypyidaw for peace talks with the military and Suu Kyi, following her tough first year in power that saw the worst rebel fighting in years.
“We have found a 17-minute-long video on social media showing four civilians mistreated by some soldiers. International human rights organisations released statements about that on May 28,” Suu Kyi’s office said in a statement.
“The government will now necessarily investigate the violations according to the current rules and regulations.”
Some of the handcuffed men were questioned whether they belonged to the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), an ethnic armed group based in Burma’s eastern Shan State that recently clashed with the military.
Reuters could not independently verify the identity of the people involved in the video. It was not clear when and where it was taken.
A coalition of four ethnic armed groups comprising some of Burma’s most powerful militias, including the TNLA, staged attacks on security forces in northern Burma in November.
Burma this year investigated policemen after footage of villagers being treated violently emerged online, amid tension over a government crackdown on suspected insurgents.