Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Update No.75: June 2nd 2011 – 10:40 am One villager injured by mortar, one villager beaten in Th’Waw Thaw village

June 7, 2011

n May 22nd 2011 a KHRG researcher reported that one villager was injured by a mortar, and one villager was beaten by the Tatmadaw during a clash between Tatmadaw LIB #310 and another group on May 20th in Th’Waw Thaw village, Kawkareik Township. KHRG’s researcher could not confirm which armed group was involved in the clash with the Tatmadaw, but local sources speculated that it was a force of DKBA soldiers.

According to KHRG’s researcher, at approximately 2 pm on May 20th, a group of soldiers from LIB #310, including the Battalion Commander, were returning to Th’Waw Thaw village from a meeting with members of the Royal Thai Army (RTA) in Thailand. The clash began outside Th’Waw Thaw, as the Tatmadaw soldiers approached the village. According to local sources that spoke with KHRG’s researcher, the fighting lasted for ten minutes, during which time the LIB #310 Battalion Commander was killed; two other Tatmadaw soldiers later died from wounds sustained during the clash.

At least one mortar round landed inside Th’Waw Thaw village during the skirmish; 28-year-old Saw Je— was hit in his back by a mortar fragment, although local sources said his injury was not severe. KHRG’s researcher said that he thought the mortar had been fired by Tatmadaw soldiers because LIB #310 was approaching Th’Waw Thaw when the fighting occurred, although local sources could not confirm which group had fired the mortar. Local sources further reported that when the LIB #310 troops entered Th’Waw Thaw following the clash, soldiers punched and kicked 43-year-old Saw Bo—, who was attempting to help the injured Saw Je—. The sources told KHRG’s researcher that Saw Bo— was kicked twice in the side and punched twice on the chin, but did not specify how many soldiers were involved in the incident.

According to KHRG’s researcher, after the clash on May 20th Tatmadaw officers in Th’Waw Thaw requested that leaders of Thai Karen villages adjacent to Th’Waw Thaw come to meet with them in Burma. As of May 22nd, however, the village heads were unwilling to meet with the Tatmadaw, citing fears that they would be accused of communicating the armed group that clashed with LIB #310 as the soldiers returned from the meeting in Thailand.

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