Five members of the armed group the Karen National Union – Karen National Liberation Army Peace Council (KNU-KNLA Peace Council) have been arrested in connection with an alleged armed robbery in Irrawaddy Division.
Police say that a second lieutenant was among the five who identified themselves as KNU-KNLA Peace Council members, from the organisation’s liaison office in Rangoon’s Panhlaing, during questioning by police.
Superintendent Win Htay of Lugaungkyun police station in Eainme Township said the five were arrested in Dedaye Township in connection with an incident in the night of the 30 March, during which armed men in camouflage stole six million kyat from a home in Yodayagon village.
“A group of men in camo arrived at a home in the village of Yodayagon at around 11pm on 30 March. They held residents at gunpoint and tied them up before making off with six million kyat,” said the officer. The assailments also tied up a boatman nearby during their escape. The victims filed a report to the police.
The KNU-KNLA Peace Council’s Information Officer Saw Min Wai told DVB that the robbery accusations against its members are false, and that there was a dispute over money between the group and the alleged victims.
“Our men went there to collect the money that belongs to them, but the people in the house insulted them, and were very confrontational. In the end, they gave our men only 600,000 kyat out of the one million that they owe, and later accused them of robbing six million kyat,” said Saw Min Win.
He said the group is planning to countersue the plaintiffs for defamation.
The five have been detained in Myaungmya prison, and charged with Article 395 of Burma’s Penal Code for armed robbery. A replica gun, two slingshots, pallets, a short blade and a long one were seized as evidence from the men.