Passengers traveling in a private car allege soldiers from the New Mon State Party at a checkpoint in Ta Dein village in the Three Pagoda Pass area fired automatic weapons at their car.
The incident occurred on April 18 when a NMSP gatekeeper, identified as Naing Nyein Chan fired his M16 machine gun at the car. U Wanna Thiri, a monk who was traveling in the car at the time said there was a driver, two monks, including himself, and three women in the car.
Speaking to Karen News, U Wanna Thiri said.
“They [NMSP troop] didn’t ask us for anything. They just shot at the car – this is not right. They said they shot at the driver, but the driver didn’t do anything wrong either.”
The car was leaving Three Pagoda Pass to travel to Hpa-an and the incident occurred at the Ta Dein gate. In the car, there was Sayadaw U Ar Naw Ba Tha from Dama Hewon Parahita temple in No.3 section of Three Pagoda Pass Town.
Although there was no causalities, local residents feared the incident could stir up instability and increase conflict in the area.
U Wanna Thiri said that after the incident, four officials from the NMSP went to Dama Hewon Parahita Temple and talked to the monks for about an hour.
Karen News tried to contact NMSP officials for their version of events, but there was no response.
Villagers say NMSP troops based at the Ta Dein gate often question drivers and passengers, but this is the first time there has been a shooting.