Government’s Militia Accused of Murdering Karen Soldier

Handcuffed and with his throat-slit, Saw Ta Noe’s body was found in the Moei River near the Burmese border town of Myawaddy on September 22, a week after his disappearance.

Saw Ta Noe, 23 a private, served in the Karen National Liberation Army’s special battalion under the Headquarter Command located in the KNLA’s 6th Brigade.

On September 16, Saw Ta Noe visited Myawaddy and disappeared following reports that Border Guard Force militia at the Min Khant tax gate, along with two other civilians were arrested. The tax gate is under the control of the government militia’s BGF 1022 battalion based between Myawaddy and Mitta Lin Myaing village.

Captain Hla Min, Commander of the KNLA Headquarter Special Command from 6th Brigade spoke to Karen News about the case.

“We talked to the relevant BGF troops about the disappearance of our soldier. They told us that they had already released him. But now, his body was found with signs of him having being murdered. We want the case to be handled according to the [rule of] law.”

Captain Hla Min said that according to accounts from the two civilians arrested along with Saw Ta Noe at the BGF checkpoint, the five BGF soldiers on duty at the checkpoint handcuffed and arrested only Saw Ta Noe. The two civilians were released on the same night.

Doctors, police officers, and officials from KNLA 6th Brigade officially declared that the body was that of Saw Ta Noe.

Major Saw Zorrow, an official from the Karen National Union’s Myawaddy Liaison office said. “The body could only be confirmed when some men from his [Saw Ta Noe] battalion were called to inspect it, as the dead body was in a hideous condition. The body was handcuffed and the throat-slit. There were also two gunshot injuries, confirmed by both police and doctors.”

The majority of the Border Guard Force (BGF) in Karen State are Karen ethnicity. Karen News was unable to reach Major Saw Mone Thone, the Commander of BGF Battalion No. 1022, to comment on the murder of Saw Ta Noe.

General Saw Johnny, Chief-of-Staff of the KNLA and also the chairperson of the Unity Committee for Karen Armed Groups urged for every side to find a solutions by peaceful means.”

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