The Irrawaddy

KNPP Claims Member Saw Army Execute 4 of His Colleagues Before Escaping

Two members of the KNPP man a checkpoint in the Shadaw area of Loikaw Township.

The Myanmar Army ordered Karenni National Progressive Party members who were detained during a raid on the group’s base in Loikaw, Kayah State on Dec. 20 to dress in Army uniforms and line up, saying they were going to be photographed, before executing them, according to a Karenni fighter who said he escaped after realizing he was about to be killed.

Maung Lar said he spent two days in the jungle before making it back to his KNPP camp on Dec. 22.

“He just ran when [the Army] opened fire on them. Two people tried to run, but only he escaped,” said Khu Daniel, a KNPP central committee member.

“He has minor injuries to his foot, sustained while he was in the jungle, but he wasn’t shot,” Khu Daniel said.

Three KNPP members and one civilian were detained on Dec. 20 when the Regional Operation Command based in Loikaw raided the Karenni Army base in Loikaw Township, according to the KNPP. They were killed at the base, but Myanmar Army personnel took the bodies back to their base and later burned them, the ethnic group claimed.

Khu Daniel said that as a witness to the killings, Maung Lar, 50, will be targeted by the Army, so they are hiding him at an undisclosed location.

He said the KNPP would hold a press conference soon to present all the information it has about how the Myanmar Army murdered four of its personnel.

The Army has denied the accusation. In a statement, it said the four were killed during a firefight between the two sides.

The KNPP has asked the Army to launch an official investigation into the killings, but it has yet to respond.

The Army’s Regional Operation Command issued a statement saying the incident began when military vehicles transporting supplies to the Army base were stopped by 15 members of the KNPP, who found timber among the supplies.

According to a Myanmar Army a statement published in the Kantarawaddy Times, the timber was to be used to build enclosures for pigs kept by Army families. It claimed that the KNPP threatened to burn Army cars if it discovered that the soldiers were transporting illegal timber again. The KNPP also illegally collected taxes from local people, according to the statement. The Army also accused the KNPP of building a base in the area controlled by the Army, in violation of a ceasefire agreement.

The United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) issued a statement today saying that the Army’s actions would disrupt the peace process and damage trust in the institution.

The KNPP signed a ceasefire agreement with the Myanmar government and the military in March 2012, but has not yet inked the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA). The KNPP is a member of the UNFC and is involved in negotiations to sign the NCA.