Karen villagers hospitalized after Burma Army officer attack

Captain Gyi No, a Karen National Union (KNU) leader from the Tenasserim Division in southern Burma confirmed with Karen News that a Burma Army officer attacked three villagers without reason on June 5.

Eyewitnesses said that the three villagers were so badly beaten that they needed hospital treatment. The KNU’s Captain Gyi No claimed the attacked was unprovoked.

“The Battalion Commander, Lt.Col Aung Win Htun, from the Light Infantry Battalion 588 used a bamboo pole to beat up the three Karen villagers in Wa Daw village. The three villagers were seriously injured in the attack and had to be sent to Myitta village hospital for treatment.”

Captain Gyi No explained that the Wa Daw villagers were cutting wood with a chainsaw for a village building.

“The commander heard the sound and came out to the villagers and beat them up. Other villagers tried to protect the three men who were being beaten. The Commander pulled his gun and threatened to shoot the
villagers.”

The Burma Army Battalion 588 is under the control of the number 2 Tactical Command of the 19 Operation Command headquarters based in Htee Hta village.

The KNU’s Captain Gyi No pointed out that the Burma Army, despite the ceasefire agreement between the KNU and the government, still abuses local people. Captain Gyi No said the Burma Army’s presence in the region is the problem as the Army are setting-up camps in close proximity to communities.

Captain Gyi No said the Burma Army is also restricting villagers right to travel or to query developments in the area.

“Since Lt.Col Aung Win Htun arrived in Wa Daw village he has restricted all the villagers from hunting for wild chickens and other small animals. He has threatened villagers who have asked for compensation from the Italian-Thai Development Company from their land and properties that have been destroy by the construction of
Dawei-Kanchanaburi Highway.”

Wa Daw village is located on the Dawei-Kanchanaburi highway that is being constructed by the Italian-Thai Development Company.

Captain Gyi No said it is frustrating to have a ceasefire agreement in place while witnessing the Burma Army threaten and abuse Karen civilians with impunity.

“It is frustrating that the Burma Army continue to use their power to abuse villagers. All we can do is investigate the case and report it to the KNU Mergui-Tavoy District leaders.”

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