Three KNU/KNLA-Peace Union members killed during shooting in Hpa-an

Three KNU/KNLA-Peace Union members killed during shooting in Hpa-an

Three Karen National Union/Karen National Liberation Army-Peace Council members were killed after one of the group’s members turned his gun on two comrades before killing himself in eastern Burma’s Karen state on Tuesday.

The KNU/KNLA-Peace Council’s spokesperson Timothy confirmed the deaths and said the group is in the process of conducting its own investigation into the incident.

Karen state’s police commander Sein Lwin said the KNU/KNLA-Peace Council identified the shooter as Saw Kyaw Nay Htoo who was also responsible for murdering two comrades, KNU/KNLA 709th Battalion’s captain Bakyan and Htun Myint, on Tuesday morning near Bayingyi village in Hpa-an township.

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The group reportedly arrived in Hpa-an on Tuesday morning after attending Karen Martyrs’ Day celebrations at the KNU/KNLA-Peace Council’s stronghold in Kawkareit on Monday.

“They drove to a place called Wahphotaw in the area. They apparently consumed a lot of beer along the way and got very drunk,” said Sein Lwin.

“Saw Kyaw Nay Htoo, for reasons unknown, shot captain Bakyan and driver Htun Myint in the front seats, then he got out of the car and shot himself in a temple,”

Second-lieutenant Hla Win, who was also travelling with the group, survived the incident and was unharmed.

Family members reportedly collected the bodies of the deceased from Hpa-an hospital on Wednesday.

State authorities have opened an investigation but may close the case soon because “the alleged culprit is now dead”, reported Sein Lwin.

The police commander went on to urge the various armed groups in the region that travel with guns to be prudent in order to prevent similar incidents from happening.

The Karen National Liberation Army’s 7TH Brigade’s General Htay Maung formed the KNU/KNLA-Peace Council after he was sacked by the Karen National Union for entering into peace talks with the central government in 2007.

The armed group signed a new ceasefire with the government-backed negotiators in February 2012.

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