The villagers from the KNU, Thaton District, Brigade 1, west of the Salween River in Hpa-an Township, were captured on May 1, 2022, by militia from BGF, battalion 1014, for no apparent reason, according to local villagers.
A Pay Pin Sate villager who witnessed the event, confirmed to Karen News that around 50 members of BGF battalion 1014 came with six civilian trucks, blocking the village entrances, fired their weapons and arrested villagers from Myaing village, Kone Tan Kyi village, Wae Pyan Chaung Wa village, Bu Yar Sate village, Wae Pyan village, Pay Pin Sate village, Mate Hte Lar village, and Mi Zine.
The villager who had escaped being arrested said; “They [BGF] came in the morning, at 8am. They parked three cars at the entrance of the village. Three more cars were parked at the [other] end of the village. They rounded up and arrested villagers, shooting at people who tried to escape them. Luckily, I was not wounded. I crossed the Salween River by swimming and headed towards the Kaw’ Lone shoal in the river. They tried to shoot [us] from the mountains. I heard around 100 villagers were taken away. I am not sure if it is to make them work for them or conscript them to be soldiers.”
According to villagers in the areas, local villagers, especially young people from villages on the banks of the Salween River in Hpa-an Township, and from Hlaingbwe Township villages – Shwe Goon, Inn Noh Thate Pan, Kaw’ Lone Island are concerned of being arrested as news spread that the BGF forces raided and arrested local people.
This was not the first time the BGF illegally arrested villagers. In April and March 2022 villagers were detained and forced to carry food and ammunition for the BGF.
Villagers taken by the BGF after the February 2021 coup, have not been in contact with their families causing alarm among local people.
Karen News could not reach BGF officials for comment on the arrests of villagers.