DKBA troops burn down Karen village

Feb 17, 2009 (DVB), Troops from battalion 999 of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army raided and burnt down a Karen village near Myawaddy township last week, according to villagers.

One villager said DKBA soldiers had raided Koe Hta village on 11 February.

"I am saddened because it was done to Karen people by Karen people," a villager said.

"I don’t know why they did it. It is impossible to think of what they wanted to achieve by burning down a Karen village."

Another villager said it was the second time the DKBA had carried out this kind of raid in the past two months.

"I hope they will realise their sins one day," the villager said.

The DKBA was formed in 1994 as a splinter group of the Karen National Union but now many locals believe the group just follows orders from the ruling State Peace and Development Council, according to a third villager.

"Whatever it is, it can’t do anything without the SPDC’s instructions," the villager said.

"They are also being coerced into doing things. According to the reports we have received they are being pressured to give up arms and stick to business, as subordinate troops to the SPDC."

Another villager condemned the suffering inflicted on people in Karen state, and said some had gone into hiding in the jungles.

"It is the worst atrocity. It is the people who suffer whatever they do," the villager said.

There have also been widespread reports of attacks on villages by State Peace and Development Council troops, who have been accused of raping and killing villagers.

Reporting by Maung Too

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