Bomb kills KNU defector's son-in-law

Jan 31, 2008 (DVB), The son-in-law of a Karen National Union commander who defected to the Burmese government side was killed by a bomb yesterday in what is thought to have been a targeted assassination.

General Saw Htay Maung was commander of KNU brigade 7 before his defection in early 2007, when he founded a splinter group called the KNU Peace Council.

His son-in-law, major Saw Leh Mu, was at the communications office of the KNU Peace Council headquarters in Kawko village, Kawkareit township, yesterday when the bomb exploded.

An unidentified Democratic Karen Buddhist Army officer said that Saw Leh Mu was killed instantly by the blast.

"The bomb exploded at around 12.40am near where he and his grandmother were sleeping," the officer said.

"We don't know how powerful the explosion was, but someone who saw the bomb scene said that his body was blown into small pieces."

The officer said the attack was thought to have been an assassination, but it was not yet clear who was responsible.

Security has been tightened within Saw Htay Maung's group since the incident.

A close relative of Saw Leh Mu confirmed his death.

"I can confirm that Saw Leh Mu has been killed, but we don't know yet how it happened," he said, adding that no other people were injured in the explosion.

Saw Htay Maung's group also said they assumed that Saw Leh Mu was deliberately assassinated, but they could not yet say who was behind the attack.

Some local people have suggested that the attack could have been carried out by business rivals.

Unknown groups have previously attempted to assassinate Saw Leh Mu on several occasions.

Reporting by Saw Kanyaw

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