The KNU statement was released following Burma Army shelling of villages that has now displaced an estimated 10,000 civilians this week.
The KNU said the recent fighting that took place on 15th December was a result of its self-defense against “Myanmar military council’s arrest of individuals temporarily sheltering at Lay Kay Kaw, destruction of their homes, and deployment of military forces against the KNU troops.”
Padoh Saw Taw Nee, the Karen National Union’s (KNU) head of foreign affairs, in an earlier interview with Karen News, explained how back in March this year, the Burma Army retaliated with airstrikes against unarmed villagers after it had clashed with KNU troops.
“The Burma Army and its war planes bombed our villagers after we, on humanitarian ground, offered temporary shelter and protection to politicians, activists, and non-violent protesters, fleeing the military-appointed State Administration Council’s killing and torture.”
Padoh Saw Taw Nee told Karen News the latest attacks came after the Burma Army raided Lay Kay Kaw and forcibly detained politicians and pro-democracy opponents of the military and its State Administration Council.
“The military deployed its troops against our KNU soldiers and when we defended ourselves, the Burma Army retaliated by shelling villages, displacing 10,000 people. This military has no hesitation in targeting unarmed villagers. It’s part of its retaliation strategy.”
The KNU statement also sent out an urgent plea to “all Karen living outside of Burma, citizens of Burma, domestic and international organisations to provide food, medicine, and temporary shelter for people fleeing the war.”
The KNU predicted there was a “high possibility Lay Kay Kaw would be attacked by the military council’s air force; this would cause serious damage and destruction of unarmed civilians, a severe abuse of human rights.”
The Karen National Union “urged the United Nations to identify a ‘No Fly Zone’ by calling an emergency meeting with the UN Security Council, and international community.”
The KNU requested the Thai government to allow international aid organizations to meet and deliver assistance to the war victims and displaced people.
The KNU thanked the “Thai government and Thai people for providing temporary shelter for 3,000 displaced people in accordance with humanitarian principles. We also would like to thank the Thai government for allowing 2,000 displaced people who fled more armed clashes that took place on December 19, 2021 to cross the borderline and hope that Thai authorities will arrange proper accommodation for these people.”
Saw Taw Nee told Karen News that the large number of displaced people were now in urgent need of humanitarian aid.
“The situation is bad, very bad. We need everything – medicine, food, shelter. clothing and help. We call on the international community to work together with us. We thank the Thai government for not forcing people back at this time.”
Padoh Taw Nee warned the KNU expects the military-backed State Administration Council to use airstrikes against civilians as they have done in other parts of the country.
“They deliberately target villages and civilians – our people have no protection against aerial bombing or heavy artillery. If the international community does not intervene it will be a humanitarian disaster.”
Padoh Taw Nee said the military had driven the country into the ground. “The economy is now a disaster and the military’s Covid-19 response was inhumane. The military took power from a legally elected government. The military has no place in politics, it’s nonsense. We demand the military withdraw from politics and hand back the parliament to the people.”