Three soldiers from Burma Army Light Infantry Battalion 549 held seven Karen villagers hostage, demanding cash for their return, claims Free Burma Rangers, a humanitarian organization that delivers aid to displaced people.
The incident is alleged to have took place on the 26th of January near Law Naw Village, Win Ye Township, Dooplaya District, Karen State.
FBR said the villagers were leading their cattle from from Mae Klu Village through Si Law Blerh when the three Burma Army soldiers stopped them and forced them to go to their camp. The soldiers held them captive while the commander of the camp, U Thaugn Htut, demanded that they give him 1,700,000 Kyat (Approximately USD $1,700) to secure their release. The villagers, saying they did not have the money, instead had to relinquish three cows, FBR said.
Law Naw village leaders said that the Burma Army had been secretly patrolling the area for a week before the day they captured the villagers, according to the FBR report.
FBR also said that villagers were now afraid to venture from their homes in the area even to farm or gather wood.