At a joint press conference held by the National Unity Government (NUG) and the Karenni State Advisory Council (KSCC) on January 3, 2022, the NUG minster said that they will seek justice for the inhumane massacre of civilians by referring the case along with evidence to the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar (IIMM). The NUG will also seek prosecution of Burma Army generals and associates at the ICC and through international courts.
U Aung Myo Min, the National Unity Government’s Minister for Human Rights said at the press conference. “This is a serious crimes. We will facilitate to have eyewitnesses and other evidence made accessible for the IIMM.”
At the press conference, family members of those killed, eye-witnesses, doctors who carried out autopsy, organizations who documented the cases and the Karenni Police Force confirmed that women, children and people with disability were among who burnt to death by the Burma Army.
Police said at least 35 Karenni people were burnt to death by the Burma Army northwest of Moso village, Hpruso township on the night of December 24.
NUG Minister, U Aung Myo Min refuted Burma Army claims the murdered villagers were members of an armed resistance movement.
“I can say with certainty that those killed were civilians. Eyewitnesses and family members, confirmed these people are not terrorist. They didn’t have any weapons. They are innocent civilians who were arrested and killed while traveling. That was not suspicious intent killing, but it is done with the clear intention of killing everyone.”
As reports were circulated about the junta troop massacre, the military council’s spokesperson General Zaw Min Tun, denied the allegations, saying those traveling in seven cars refused to stop when they were stop by Burma army soldiers and were killed in a shootout with People Defence Force (PDF) members on the day of incident.
Bo Bo, Head of the Karenni State Police Information Department, contested the Burma Army’s spokesperson claim that those who were killed were members of a PDF and told Karen News.
“Ko Byar Reh [one of the person killed] was on his way to Moso village to cut down trees. There is no reason for him to be a PDF. Their tractor truck was found at the scene of the fire. The Save The Children staff are certainly not PDF. Their vehicle registration number can also be confirmed. Their driver’s license was obtained as evidence. And those children who were among the killed are certainly not PDF.”
A Karenni State Police Department investigation found that at least 30 people who were killed were not traveling together. The Burma Army soldiers arrested people traveling on the road and then killed them all together by setting fire to the trucks people were put in.
The doctor who carried out the autopsy explained at the press conference that some of the bodies had their hands tied behind their backs and some had wounds in their lungs, suggesting that these people could have been tortured before being killed.
The Karenni State Police department said at the press conference that the Burma Army soldiers responsible for the mass killings were from the Light Infantry Battalion 531 under Loikaw Regional Military Command based at Hpruso as well as soldiers from Light Infantry Division 66.