Thursday, May 7, 2009

Over 80 villagers arrested, 2 killed after clash with rebels

By Hseng Khio Fah - Shan Herald

Two people from Hsihseng township, 57 miles south of Taunggyi, were believed to have been extra judicially killed and another 80 villagers arrested by the Burma Army two days after a clash between Burma Army and a joint ethnic armed force near Wanyen (Banyen) village on 3 May, according to locals.

Villagers and village headmen from Saw Sar and Nawngdapan villages near the clash site were arrested by the Banyen based Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) # 425 for not informing in advance about the arrival of rebel groups in the areas. They are being detained at Saw Sar monastery, said a Pa-O youth.

“They [villagers] were accused of cooperating with the rebel groups because the villagers did not inform them [the Burma Army], he added.

The said two people who were killed were Saw Sar village headman U Kyaw Pae and another local villager.
“They were summoned by the Burmese soldiers to the west of the village but they have not returned since then,” said another local source. “Villagers are still worried how many more will be arrested again.”

Security inside and outside the villages has been strongly tightened by the Burma Army. Villagers were banned not only from moving place to place but also to go and work in their farms.

Anyone who is going outside has to ask permission from LIB # 425. If not, they are not allowed to go anywhere, he said.

The clash took placed because the Burma Army is still committing human rights abuses to the villagers, according to the rebels. A joint PaO National Liberation Army (PNLA) – Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) force ambushed a Burma Army patrol in Hsihseng township.

The joint force seized 13 assorted weapons: 1 60 mm mortar, 1 light machine gun, 1 RPG 9, 8 MA 1/ 2/ 3/ 4 rifles, 2 pistols, 2 walkie-talkies and 1 back pack transceiver of the Burma Army. All the 12 members of the Burma Army patrol were killed in action.

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