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Thousands at funeral of killed Kachin teachers

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The funeral of two female Kachin teachers, suspected to have been raped and killed by Burmese soldiers, was held today in Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin state in northern Myanmar.

Maran Lu Ra and Tangbau Khawn Nan Tsin, aged 20 and 21, were in a remote village in Shan state, to teach children on behalf of the Kachin Baptist Convention (KCB), the group's spokesperson Lama Yaw told AFP news agency.

“The victims are dead and can’t point out who did it to them. But everyone in Myanmar -- not only the Kachin people -- knows the truth,” Lama Yawsaid, referring to KBC claims that soldiers were responsible.

Villagers say they were raped and beaten, and that boot prints were found outside their shared home. Activists and local media say Burmese troops were stationed near the village.

The government has launched an investigation into the killings and a spokesperson said if the crime was committed by soldiers "we won't be tolerant, we will take serious action."

"Local police and state government are investigating. People are saying it was committed by the Tatmadaw (army), but they need evidence - they can't just accuse," a spokesperson from the office of the president, Zaw Htay, told AFP.

The US on Thursday called for a full investigation into the killings.

“We call on authorities to investigate this crime and bring the perpetrators to justice in a credible and transparent manner,” said State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki in a briefing on Wednesday.

Around 2,000 Kachin youth protested in Myitkyina on Friday, calling for an end to sexual violence and for the prosecution of the culprits.

Rights groups accuse Burmese soldiers are accused of committing sexual violence women from other ethnic groups with impunity.

A report by the Women’s League of Burma (WLB), released last November, highlights several instances of sexual violence and calls on the international community to conduct an investigation into rape and sexual violence committed by the Burmese military.

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