The KNU’s Dooplaya District sent a letter to the Commander of the Burma Army, South East Military Command, on 7 March 2022. The KNU’s Doo Pla Ya District secretary, Padoh Saw Liston, issued the letter of notification to the Burma Army regional commander based in Maw La Myaing, Mon State.
The KNU letter requested the Burma Army withdraw its troops stationed in the Lay Kay Kaw and southern Kawkareik within three days to allow displaced villagers to return to their villages to live and work in peace.
Padoh Saw Liston told Karen News the Burma Army has taken up positions in villages preventing displaced people from returning to their homes.
“Civilians have been suffering for months now. Mothers, children and the elderly are facing housing problems due to displacement and extreme weather conditions. People want to return to their homes and live in peace. However, they are afraid to return as the Burma Army soldiers are now stationed in the villages. Our [KNU] leaders want the [Burma army] to withdraw immediately.”
The KNU letter warned, the KNU’s Doo Pla Ya District in the Karen National Liberation Army Brigade 6, would not be responsible for the consequences if the troops failed to withdraw by the given time – the Burma military regime would be the one responsible.
The letter included displaced people from villages in eastern Dawna such as Lay Kay Kaw new town and neighboring villages, and people from villages in western Dawna of the Northern Kawkareik areas who fled Burma Army attacks that began on December 15, 2021.
The KNU letter accused Burma Army soldiers of looting and destroying houses, and displaced villagers afraid to return to their villages because of landmines.
Tens of thousands of villagers have been forced from their homes due to Burma Army attacks on anti-coup opposition groups and Karen National Liberations Army based in the Lay Kay Kaw area of southern Myawaddy and in Northern Kawkareik.
Displaced villagers said that it is not possible to return to their villages while the Burma Army is still in their villages.