KNU releases child soldier

Officials from the Karen National Union’s (KNU) Brigade 5 said that a 15-year-old boy taken as a army recruit by the Lay Poe Htar village track leader in April was released on May 2.

Colonel Saw Kler Do from the KNU’s Brigade 5 District said that Saw Pa Log, a Lay Poe Htar village track leader, ordered his followers to take Po Gar villagers took Saw Stiven, 15, Shwe Yay (Po Gar) village, Papun Township, Karen State, on April 4.

Speaking to Karen News, Saw Kler Do confirmed the incident.

“The Lay Poe Htar group leader gave the authority to his followers to take villagers whose names were listed to work. His followers took a child from Po Gar village who is under 18, but the villager track leader later released the child.”

Saw Kler Do said that when Saw Stiven had not returned home, his brother thought that the KNU forcibly took his brother as a child soldier so he reported it to the International Labor Organization (ILO). Saw Kler Do said the KNU explained the details of the ‘actual event to the ILO’.

According to KNU’s policy, anyone who is under 18 cannot join its army, the KNU do not accept any organization that uses child soldiers and all those who join the KNU must be an adult.

The Lay Poe Htar village track, includes the villages of Shwe Yay (Po Gar), Kyo Day, Tayaw Pu, Mel Gyi including Lay Poe Htar.

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