By Kantarawaddy Times
A regime supporter accused the Karenni resistance of committing the same human rights abuses as the military. Sai Pan Hpa wrote on his Facebook page that the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), whose armed wing Karenni Army (KA) and the People’s Defence Force (PDF) are fighting the junta, are kidnapping villagers to use as human shields, and destroying homes and religious buildings in Karenni State.
The man alleged that KNPP and PDF killed a villager from Ho Hpeik in Demawso Township and abducted and tortured five villagers, including Soe Htwe, from Mai Lon ward, on 17 January. The villagers were accused of being informants for the Burma Army (BA), Sai Pan Hpa wrote, before three of them were freed.
Ko Theik, leading member of the Karenni Nationalities Defence Force (KNDF) central committee, said the BA killed the civilian and not their group. “Ethnic armed organisations and the PDF have never used human shields, but the military junta deliberately blamed us. The PDF only arrests people who go against the community. But we will not kill a civilian and we didn’t kill this villager.”
On the contrary, the BA regularly forces villagers to walk in front of their soldiers in conflict areas, and they steal people’s belongings, burn down their houses and deliberately target them, including destroying their food, and these are all crimes against humanity, he explained.
The Karenni Civil Society Network (KCSN) reported that 198 civilians were killed by the BA between 1 February and 20 January.
”The military is deliberately killing civilians during the war,” Robe, deputy officer of KCSN told Kantarawaddy Times. He said the regime sent fighter jets to bomb Nam Maekhong in Demawso Township and Rekeebu IDP camp in Hpruso Township, killing six people this month. Many others were tortured to death in the interrogation centres. ”They have suffered many causalities during clashes. They’re losing and that’s why they’re deliberately killing civilians.”
Khu Hte Bu, deputy minister for interior and immigration of the interim National Unity Government (NUG), said they’re collecting evidence of the junta’s crimes against humanity to present to the International Criminal Court. NUG was formed by lawmakers overthrow during coup one year ago.
In February, the regime will deliver its preliminary objections in The Hague against Gambia’s genocide charges related with the army’s 2017 clearance campaign against the Rohingya in Rakhine State.
For most of January, the regime has targeted civilians and resistance groups in Karenni State with airstrikes and artillery attack.