By Kantarawaddy Times
Outraged by the recent massacre by the Burma military, Pa-O organisations have said they’ll seek justice for the victims in Nam Neing.
“Innocent civilian people were massacred by the Burma army in the first war crime in Pinlaung Township,” Ma Nang, spokesperson for the Pa-O Women Union (PWU), told the Kantarawaddy Times. She said soldiers destroyed homes and religious buildings, which is a “war crime”.
After shelling the village, the regime reportedly gunned down at least 24 civilians, including three Buddhist monks, at the site of a Buddhist monastery in Taunggyi District, southern Shan State on 11 March.
She explained that they’re trying to get detailed information about the massacre in Nam Neing and suspects one of the victims is a woman under 30. PWU helps women whose rights have been violated, she said, but will stand up for all the victims.
The Pa-O National Liberation Organisation strongly condemned the creation of hateful divisions between ethnic groups through inter-ethnic conflict and those responsible for the massacre must be held accountable for their horrific acts.
The Pa-O National Federal Council issued a statement promising action against the military regime.
Khun Benjamin of the information department of the Kham Kawng Pa-O National Defence Force (PNDF) said they were trying to find out if the Pa-O National Army (PNA), which is fighting alongside the regime in the region, was involved in the recent massacre.
“We have heard that some PNA soldiers wore Burma army uniforms and worked with their soldiers at the front. However, we cannot confirm that PNA soldiers were involved in the Nam Neing massacre.”
According to the PNDF, the victims hid in the basement of the monastery before being taken out and murdered by soldiers. The armed group says it was difficult to identify all the victims but family documents of some were found near their bodies.
The soldiers also torched over 40 houses in the village.
The Karenni Nationalities Defence Force, which fought alongside the Pekon People’s Defence Force (PDF) against the regime, also condemned the killings in a statement.
However, Maj-Gen Zaw Min Tun, the head of the Tatmadaw’s True News Information Team, denied having committed the massacre. He said their snipers had killed 24 PDF soldiers.
Khun Benjamin said, “It’s an inhuman action. They are now committing the same thing in our Pa-O area that they did in Sagaing Region. Our Pa-O civilians must take care of themselves.”
Since the end of February, when the fighting started, more than 6,000 civilians have fled.
The PNDF, Karenni Army, KNDF, Karenni Revolutionary Union, Southern Shan State Local Revolutionary Union, Pekon and Mobye PDFs, Southern Shan Revolution Youth (PDF Battalion-1008) and PDF Battalions 804, 1101, 1102, 1103, 1005, 1007 and 1009, all under the National Unity Government, are fighting the regime in southern Shan State.