After the Military Council burned down 15 houses in Wa Kone village, some residents have not dared to return to the village

After the Military Council troops burned down 15 houses in Wa Kone village located on Dawei-Htee Khee Road in Ledo Soe (Dawei) Township, Myeik-Dawei District, which is part of the territory of the 4th Brigade of the Karen National Union (KNU), some residents have not dared to return to the village.

On January 8th, a 100-strong Military Council unit arrived at Wa Kone village and set fire to 15 houses along the main road. As a result of this arson attack, the entire village was forced to flee.

“When they arrived at the village, they set fire to everything they found on either side of the main road. All the people in the village had to flee. Those who didn’t have a place to take refuge, had to shelter in the forests. The soldiers have now left the village, but the villagers fear that they will come back again. Some villagers have returned home, but some have not dared to return yet”, a villager told KIC.

The military unit was marching from Dawei to Htee Khee for an operation, and on the way, they burned the houses of Wa Kone village, KNU Myeik-Dawei District’s Kwe Ka Lu News reported.

“We were fleeing when they came to the village, so we didn’t see clearly what they did. But some eyewitnesses said that they entered Wa Kone on foot, followed by a convoy. After that, they started burning the houses along the main road, accusing them of being hideouts of the People’s Defense Forces (PDF). They did not set ablaze the houses inside the village. Household items were also destroyed. Their actions were very nasty”, another villager also told KIC.

There are about 200 houses in Wa Kone village, where the majority of the residents are Karen people. Currently, around 2000 villagers are still fleeing their homes, locals said.

Southern Monitor, a group that observes the human rights abuses committed by the Military Council, said that they already gathered data that 188 residential houses were burned down by Junta forces in Tanintharyi division between September 2021 and December 2022. But the actual number of houses torched in the region is likely to be higher than that.

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