Karen villagers have accused a Burmese military commander based at Wah Kla (Wah Daw) village in southern Burma of abusing local villagers in an attempt to instigate conflict with the local Karen National Union (KNU).
A villager from Wah Kla who asked not to be named for security reasons spoke to Karen News.
“On September 3, Lt. Colonel Aung Win Htun from Light Infantry Battalion 558 based at Wah Kla set up a checkpoint at Wah Kla. He and his troops stopped a car and question the passengers.”
The villager alleged that Lt. Colonel Aung Win Htun slapped the drivers face while questioning him.
“The battalion commander told local people that he set up the checkpoint because he heard rumors that Muslim people were traveling on the road.”
The villager claimed that on the same day Lt. Colonel Aung Win Htun abused another villager.
“The commander also slapped another man who was involved in a motorbike accident.”
Villagers claim that last week Lt. Colonel Aung Win Htun tried to stop a car carrying wood for the local KNU office. The incident has prompted the local KNU leader to take the issue to the Burma Army commander based in Htee Hta.
Wah Kla villagers alleged that it is not the first time that Lt. Colonel Aung Win Htun has been accused of abusing villagers. Villagers claim that Lt. Colonel Aung Win Htun has threatened villagers with violence, beaten villagers and slapped a KNU member.
Villagers point out that on June 5, Lt. Colonel Aung Win Htun beat-up three villagers who had to be hospitalized.A KNU leader from Mergui-Tavoy District said his organization had filed a complaint against Lt. Colonel Aung Win Htun and sent letter of complaint to the Burmese authorities in the Tenaytharyi region, but claim that the authorities no action have failed to take action.