Government troops fired artillery shells into Karen village areas in Northern Papun Township, KNU sources told Karen News. No villagers were injured in the shelling.
On January 7, Burma Army Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) #401 fired at least three artillery shells into civilian areas in Northern Papun Township, KNU sources from Papun District told Karen News. Karen News is led to understand that this is a serious violation of the ceasefire agreement reached between the Karen National Union (KNU) and the Burmese Government in 2012.
KNU sources claim that this was the second incident in as many days.
The KNU sources said that the day before the Burma Army shelling, fighting broke out between Government troops and military units under KNLA 5th Brigade after Government troops advanced into KNLA areas. There were no casualties in either incident.
KNU sources confirmed to Karen News that LIB #401, under the control of Military Operations Command #8, fired 60mm artillery shells into the Boe Plaw village area in the afternoon.
KNU sources told Karen News that Government troops fired the shells to scare villagers away and clear the route for the transportation of military supplies to a nearby army base.
“Currently, the Government troops are clearing the routes for their rations transportation. It was the security forces who were deployed to overlook the rations transportation that fired the artillery shells just before the road construction vehicles went through,” P’ Doh Saw Lweh Gay, Joint Secretary of KNU in Papun district, told Karen News.
P’Doh Saw Lweh Gay said it was obvious that the shelling are tactics to provoke a reaction from the KNLA.
P’Doh Saw Thaw Thi Bwe, the KNU Joint Secretary, told Karen News that an official compliant has been submitted by KNU Brigade (5) to its Headquarter.
“As we have received official complaint from 5th Brigade, I have met with Major Kler Doh [of the KNLA’s 5th Brigade] and discussed about the issue.”
These incidents are not isolate. In June 2013 military jets fired live ammunition in Taungoo District the KNU’s 2 Brigade as what was described at the time as “jet bomber training”.
Regional military sources claim these incidents are tactics to provoke Karen soldier into retaliation.
The current ceasefire agreement, signed between the KNU and the Government at Hpa-An, Karen State, in January 12, 2012, has been largely adhered to but sporadic fighting still breaks out between the KNU forces and Government troops.