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26 april 2012 005

DHARAMSHALA: - Details of a voice message recorded by the cousins Choephag Kyab and Sonam before their self-immolations have emerged in exile.

The message, recorded on a cell phone, is reportedly being widely circulated in the Zamthang region of Ngaba, the location of the twin self-immolation protest on April 19, in protest against China's continued occupation of Tibet.

Tsangyang Gyatso, an exile Tibetan with close contacts in the region said, "According to information that I received from Tibet, Choephag Kyab and Sonam left a voice message recorded before burning themselves to death."

The message is as follows: "Our self-immolations are dedicated to the Buddha dharma, the happiness of all sentient beings and particularly to freedom for Tibet. We are not free to remain here with our parents and relatives on this earth.

"After our self-immolations, the Chinese authorities may take our bodies. We request our family, relatives and fellow villagers not to try to stop them.

"We hope this message will inspire other Tibetans to action, that local monks and villagers will gather at the Jonang Monasteries to pray for us, and that local laypersons will pledge to cease all infighting and theft within the Tibetan community.

Tsangyang Gyatso reported, "As a direct consequence of the appeal to stop infighting, Tibetans in the region gathered in front of the Zamthang monastery yesterday and burned all their weapons.

"The gathered Tibetans pledged not to fight among themselves and adhere to the principles of non-violence and truth."

Choephag Kyab and Sonam self-immolated close to a local government office in Barma township, near Jonang Zamthang Gonchen monastery in Zamthang County.

Local Tibetans gathered in large numbers to prevent their bodies from being carried away by Chinese security personnel, and carried the bodies to the main Jonang monastery.

Later, at around midnight, and following pressure from the Chinese authorities, the cousins were cremated nearby.

According to Tsangyang Gyatso, around 6,000 Tibetans from around the region attended the funeral.

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