Urban warfare hits Three Pagoda Pass

A group of unknown gunmen drove into Three Pagoda Pass town in Kyain Seikygi Township, at about 12pm, shot at and burned a house, belonging to a businessman with close links to the Burma army.

An eyewitness to the shooting incident told Karen News the gunmen arrived on a pick-up vehicle and only targeted, businessman’s U Aung Tin Win’s house.

“The shooters came in a pick-up. They had their faces covered. The shooting lasted about 20 minutes. They burnt down U Aung Tin Win, the smoke spread all over town. It was so big, fire fighters from Thai side had to come and help to stop the fire spreading. Residents panicked in case it spread to their homes.”

A local religious leader, who asked not to be named, told Karen News that town residents were scared by the incident and feared it might be an attack on the town.

“Town residents were running all over town. Parents were rushing to the school to get their children. Some people drove their motorbike or car crazily. We worried that an car accident would kill them ra than than the shooting.”

The businessman, U Aung Tin Win, whose house was destroyed, is a well-known associate of the local Burma army officers. He sells cooking oil, petrol, metal and logs and is the main contractor for building roads and other construction projects in the area.

Residents said that there was yet no response from the Burma army regarding the shooting and arson.

A Mon reporter said a resident was wounded in the shooting and a motorbike and a car were destroyed.

A local trader said.

“Shooting like this is not good. We, as civilians are the one who suffer. If their enemy is the Burma army, go and shoot at them. This shooting incident is far from the Burma army bases. Are they now targeting civilian or threatening business people? We don’t know their reasons for this, but this isn’t politics.”

Some residents blamed the shooting on Karen forces.

In response to questions from Karen News the Karen National Union joint secretary Saw Hla Ngwe said.

“People will think what they’re told. But, as we haven’t confirmed with our local troops, it is difficult to say if Karen forces are involved.”

This is the third incident of urban warfare in Three Pagoda pass this month. The Sa Ya Pha [Military Affair Security Unit] office and Municipal hall were shot-up and bombed – a child was killed and three civilians wounded – and in another incident a motorbike attack by two gunmen wounded two Burma army soldiers. At the time of writing no group has claimed responsibility for any of the attacks.

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