KNU appoints new leader

Feb 18, 2008 (DVB), The Karen National Union said on Friday that a new general secretary has been appointed to replace the late leader Pado Manh Sha who was assassinated last Thursday.

The KNU’s second coordinator of the central communication and information department, Pado Thamein Htun, said the group’s joint general secretary-1, colonel Thu Thu Lay, has now been promoted to the general secretary position previously filled by Manh Sha.

Thamein Htun said that while Manh Sha’s death was a considerable loss, the group is determined to carry on with its opposition to the military government.

"We will continue under guidelines set up by the KNU founders," said Thamein Htun.

"A loss is a loss and can’t be replaced, but it won’t change the KNU’s stand," he went on.

"[Manh Sha’s] death is a very sad thing for us. But we will turn the tears into energy to carry on with the KNU and our country’s unfinished work."

Pado Manh Sha, the previous general secretary and rallying figure of the KNU, was assassinated by two unknown Karen gunmen at his house in Thailand’s Mae Sot border town last Thursday.

He was shot twice in the chest by gunmen and died instantly from his wounds.

Mae Sot police commander colonel Passawat Teangjui said that Thai police are carrying out an investigation to track down the gunmen after the truck used by them, with the Bangkok-registered license plate ª°-425, was seized the day after the killing.

"According to our investigation, the truck was rented by two unidentified Karen males on the evening Manh Sha was killed. The two men used it from 3pm to 5pm and then apparently went across the Burmese border into Myawaddy," said Passawat Teangjui.

"We are currently questioning the truck owner to track down the criminals and to arrest them. If someone commits a crime in Thailand, they will be punished according to Thai law."

Meanwhile, the KNU is preparing to hold a state funeral for Manh Sha in one of the Karen National Liberation Army outposts.

The funeral organizing committee’s member general Manh Kyaw Pe said the date and time will be announced when everything is planned.

"We are preparing a state funeral for him in our territory. [Manh Sha’s] body has been delivered to the border area," said Kyaw Pe.

"His body is likely to be cremated as he was a Buddhist."

Reporting by Htet Yazar

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