Locals tortured following Karen defection

Jan 4, 2010 (DVB), A pro-junta Karen army in eastern Burma have kidnapped a village chief and tortured locals after several of its members defected to an opposition group, locals say.

The Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) have accused villagers in Kyar Inn Seik Gyi township in Karen state of assisting the six defectors, who last week joined the Karen National Union (KNU).

Several of the locals who fled Asoon village reported that around 40 DKBA troops and 60 Burmese army troops arrived at the village on 2 January and started torturing residents.

The village chief, Daw Kalal, has also been taken captive and the DKBA are demanding compensation from villagers for the weapons taken by the defectors.

One villager said the DKBA and the government troops also opened fire on villagers in their farms outside of the village on the morning of 1 January, injuring one man.

"[The troops] found him plucking some beetle nuts outside the village and interrogated him," he said. "He was shot, in his arm."

He added that the troops also opened fire on the house of a local government school headmistress, Ohn Cin, forcing her to flee.

The DKBA split from the KNU in 1995 and allied itself with the Burmese government, whose conflict with the KNU has stretched over 60 years.

Reporting by Min Lwin

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