BGF shooting kills 3 civilians in Hpa-an Karen State

Border Guard Forces (BGF) troops opened fire arbitrarily in Mikaren village, located on the west bank of the Salween River in Hpa-An township of Karen State, killing three people including a seven-year-old girl, and a woman was seriously injured on November 17.

No fighting was going on at the time, but the BGF deliberately opened fire with artillery and small arms. Some vehicles crossing the river from the other side of Mizan village were also hit by BGF’s gun attack, a local said.

The girl and her elder brother died on the spot and their mother was seriously injured. Another man on the shore was killed after being hit by bullets, according to a local resident.

Mikaren village, in Hpa-An township, is part of the Karen National Union’s (KNU) Thaton District 1st Brigade area, and BGF forces aligned with the Military Council are active there, locals said.

One of the locals noted that ,“There is a trading route around there where BGFs extort money from civilians. I don’t know if they were fighting each other while dividing the spoils. Almost everyone is making this kind of speculation for various incident.

The shooting occurred near the route where associates of BGFs were ferrying illegal unlicensed cars imported from the border to Mikaren village, from the river bank of Mizan village, another local explained.

Residents in the vicinity said the BGF fired small arms as well as 5 artillery shells, but it was not known which BGF battalion fired the shots. There are many BGF commanders there, and we don’t know yet which commander and his unit opened fire on this occasion”, he told KIC.

Civilians were hit just when they wandering about and unaware of the danger.

“Currently the inspections at the Salween Bridge are very strict, which has stopped unlicensed cars from transported across the bridge. BGF commanders are negotiating with each other, and using other routes to import the unlicensed vehicles which the Military Council is also aware of.”

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