A Burma government controlled newspaper, Kyaymon on the same day as peace talks with the Karen National Union accused them of a bomb explosion that killed civilians at a festival held in Anan Kwin village, Karen State.
The newspaper reported that a man alleged, to be a KNU member, while taking money from his bag at the festival dropped a bomb that exploded, killing himself and a woman and wounding 11 villagers on the night of 7th January.
The state-controlled newspaper claims that five of the 11 injured are undergoing treatment at Thanbyuzayat Hospital and six at Mawlamyine Hospital.
Karen News inquiries put the number of the injured to be at least 50 villagers by the bomb blast.
The KNU denied to Karen News the newspaper report blaming the KNU and counter-claimed that the bomb blast was a result of Burma Army activity at the nearby military camp that bordered the festival.
Captain Saw Hter Nay from the Karen National Liberation Army told Karen News.
“The government blames us [KNU] without proof. When in fact the Burma Army was the main actor. The bomb blast was near to the Burma Army camp fence. It is known that the Burma Army camp Strategic Commander and monks argued with each other before the explosion. The KNU does not have a policy to carry out bomb attack where in civilian areas or where civilians are at risk. All off the injured and dead are our people are our Karen people. Following the explosion we put on alert our units in Brigade 6.”
A monk witness who helped plan and attended the festival told Karen News that a Burma Army squad of soldiers cleared the area of evidence including bomb fragments. The monk who asked to remain anonymous for security concerns said.
“Burma Army soldiers cleared the [bomb] splinters. People who saw them and who have knowledge about such things told me that the bomb shell was a green color and they guessed it might have been Chinese made.”
The Burma Army active in the area is under the command of Colonel Soe Moe Aung’s from Tactical Command 1, Military Operations Command 19 under Southeast Command Headquarters.
Similar accusations were made against the KNU by state controlled newspaper in 2009 when seven people were killed died and 11 injured when a bomb exploded at a Karen New Year celebration held at Papun. As in the recent incident the KNU denied the newspapers accusations.