Myanmar’s Military Blames Karen National Union for Soldier Deaths

By Zin Lin Htet 1 October 2020

Naypyitaw — Myanmar’s Tatmadaw (military) has accused the Karen National Union (KNU) of being responsible for the deaths of four soldiers.

Three KNU fighters allegedly killed two troops at a Tatmadaw outpost on the old Myawaddy-Kawkareik road on August 29 and planted mines below their bodies. A captain and private from the medical corps who attended to them were killed in a mine explosion, according to Myanmar’s military.

“The two were arrested by the Tatmadaw and [Karen State] Border Guard Force. We are investigating. There were three perpetrators and the third one is on the run,” Myanmar’s military spokesman Major General Zaw Min Tun told The Irrawaddy.

The joint forces of the Tatmadaw and Karen Border Guard Force arrested two suspects on September 27, he added.

“According to an initial investigation, we found the suspects belong to the KNU but were not permanent members. We still can’t verify who is behind them but we assume they acted on KNU orders,” said Maj-Gen Zaw Min Tun.

The KNU, a powerful ethnic armed organization and a signatory to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), denied the Tatmadaw’s accusation.

KNU’s general secretary Padoh Saw Ta Doh Moo said: “We don’t give instructions to kill Tatmadaw soldiers. It is not our policy. These issues are complicated. There must be conflicts of interest in these cases. The killings are nothing to do with the KNU.”

In early September, Tatmadaw accused a splinter group of the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA), which is also an NCA signatory, of being responsible for the killings. Tatmadaw then carried out security operations and clashed with a DKBA subsidiary group led by Brigadier General Saw Kyaw Thet.

The Tatmadaw said its soldiers were killed in retaliation for drug busts in Myawaddy Township in Karen State in August.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko

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