A humanitarian worker from Free Burma Rangers (FBR) was shot and badly wounded on February 18 while working in Northern Karen State.
Saw Shae Say, 25, who works as a video recorder with FBR, was shot while monitoring Burma Army troop movements near Luthaw Township, Papun District, in Karen National Union (KNU) territory, despite a ceasefire being in place.
Karen News is led to believe that the Burma Army unit involved was Light Infantry Division 44. According to Karen News sources, the unit in question is still patrolling in the Saw Mi Plaw area, not far from where the incident took place.
Saw Shae Say was wounded in the right arm, with FBR saying the injury was serious. A KNU soldier was also wounded in the attack.
An update on the FBR website said Saw Shae Say condition stable.
“Due to good medical care, he will not lose his arm and is now recovering. We asked him what he wanted to do when he got better. He smiled and said, “I want to keep being a Ranger. I will go back and continue my mission,” FBR said.
Saw K’paw Say, a FBR video documentary leader, told Karen News that the attack was unprovoked.
“We only went to record and document the government military repairing and constructing roads. The Burma army opened the fire on us when they saw us.”
FBR expressed concern that one of their people was shot whilst documenting Burma Army movements in Karen State, pointing out that the attack was an abuse of the ceasefire.
“We are disappointed that one of our comrades suffered injuries while on duty,” Saw K’paw Say said.
The District Secretary of the KNU in Papun District, Padoh Saw Lweh Gay, expressed anger at the incident.
“This should not have happened during our peace talks [with the Burmese Government.] They [Burma army] actually came into our area. It seems like they were waiting to shoot people.”
While peace talks are ongoing, the Burma Army has been reinforcing its bases in Karen State with additional troops, rations, and building materials.
Free Burma Rangers was established in 1997 with the aim of delivering humanitarian services to people in Burma.