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KNU Vice-Chair recovering after car crash

The Vice-Chair of the Karen National Union (KNU), Zipporah Sein, is recovering at home with minor injuries, after her car drove off a cliff near the Thai border town Mae Sot late last week, a spokesperson told DVB on Monday.

Zipporah Sein was among five other passengers driving back from a meeting with the Karen Women’s Organisation (KWO) in eastern Burma on Friday evening, when the driver lost control of the vehicle and it flew off a cliff.

“The accident took place between the Mae La refugee camp and Mae Ramat [town],” said the KWO’s joint-secretary 2 Naw Siyo Paw. “There were six people in the truck including the driver when it went over the cliff. All six were injured.”

A KNU spokesperson confirmed that Zipporah Sein sustained a broken rib, but has since been released from hospital.

“Two other women from the [KWO] were also injured and hospitalised; one with a broken rib and the other with a broken leg. The driver also sustained injuries [but wasn’t hospitalised.],” Secretary-General, Saw Kwe Htoo, said.

Zipporah Sein and the group were on their way back from a meeting with the KNU’s women’s organisation in territory held by Brigade-7 of the Karen National Liberation Army when the accident happened, although the precise cause of the crash is not clear.

Thailand has a terrible record on road safety with nearly 55,000 accidents and 8,000 fatalities reported last year, according to government statistics.

Zipporah Sein took over as Vice-Chair of the KNU at the group’s quadrennial congress in December 2012, which saw a major reshuffle of senior positions in the rebel leadership.

The KNU signed a ceasefire deal with the Burmese government in January 2012, tentatively ending its 60-year war for greater ethnic rights and autonomy.

Zipporah Sein has played a key role in the ongoing peace-process and continues to be a staunch advocate for women’s rights.


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