KNU mourns loss of leader

Feb 15, 2008 (DVB), A Karen National Union official said today that the group would continue to work for its aims despite the assassination of KNU secretary-general Pado Manh Sha yesterday.

KNU information coordinator Saw David Takapaw said that the death of Man Sha was a great loss for the KNU.

"It is a dirty, disgusting and unethical way of conducting politics to assassinate people like this," Saw David Takapaw said.

But he said that Man Sha's death would not prevent the group from carrying out its work.

"It was not only Manh Sha who made decisions with the KNU; in fact, the decisions are always made collaboratively with all KNU leaders," he said.

"We will continue our work according to our policy and procedures."

Manh Sha was assassinated yesterday while resting at his house in Mae Sot, Thailand, by two unknown gunmen.

He suffered two bullet wounds to the chest and died instantly.

The attackers drove off in a blue pickup truck with license plate number 425.

Pado Manh Sha was born on 5 July 1943 in Taw Kyaung village in Pantanaw, Irrawaddy division, to Po Karen parents.

He became a student activist while at Rangoon university and was involved in the 7 July 1962 demonstrations which were brutally crushed by general Ne Win's military government.

Manh Sha first began working for the Karen National Union in 1963, serving as an underground operative until 1966.

After graduating from university with a Bachelor's degree in history, Manh Sha became a full member of the KNU in 1966.

From 1975 to 1984 Manh Sha was KNU joint secretary for Nyaung Lay Pin district.

He then moved to KNU headquarters in 1984, becoming a member of the KNU central committee, and in 1988 he became general Saw Bo Mya’s personal assistant.

Manh Sha was appointed as KNU joint secretary general at the 11th convention in 1995, was made secretary general at the 12th convention in 2000, and was reconfirmed in the post at the 13th convention in 2004.

He had also been a member of the National Council of the Union of Burma since 2000, and has been published as a writer under the pseudonym Yay San.

He is survived by two sons and two daughters.

Reporting by Maung Too

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