RANGOON — Two members of the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) were slain by unknown assailants on Wednesday while attempting to intervene in a robbery in Tenasserim Division, according to local Karen sources.
10 armed men in full camouflage uniforms stopped and boarded an Aung Yadanar express bus at 18 Mile Village, Yebyu Township, demanding money from the passengers.
KNLA captain Khin Win and enlisted soldier Maung Lay were shot and killed by the bandits after hearing that the robbery was in progress and travelling by car to where the bus was stopped, according to Bado Saw Bee Ler, Dawei district chairman from KNLA Brigade 4.
“It happened around 6:30 pm,” he told The Irrawaddy on Friday. “The robbers all had guns and were in full uniform. They stopped our two members and shot them on the road when they went to help.”
The bandits seized 2.7 million kyats (US$2600) from passengers on the bus before allowing it to continue on its route from Dawei to Rangoon. None of the passengers were injured in the incident.
“This area is under control by Burmese Army. We do not know when they (robbery) are in the mean time. We are sharing information with Burmese Army at the moment about we are searching them,” said Bado Saw Bee Ler.
The Karen National Union (KNU), the political wing of the KNLA, signed a ceasefire agreement with the Burmese government in 2012 after a five-decade long fight for Karen autonomy. Recent years have seen a warmer relationship between Naypyidaw and the KNU, including a January meeting between members of the organization’s senior leadership, President Thein Sein and military commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing to discuss efforts to implement a nationwide ceasefire agreement.