Opposition Commanders Have Admitted They Killed 25 Government Soldiers In June 2021

In June, two senior commanders of the Karen National Defence Organization (KNDO) admitted that security forces under their control detained and later killed 25 men in their territory near Myanmar’s border with Thailand, Fortify Rights reports.
Both Lieutenant Saw Ba Wah and General Ner Dah Bo Mya were suspended from their posts, but they told Fortify Rights that their men were responsible.
General Ner Dah Bo Mya denied wrongdoing, saying the men, who were not armed and not in uniform, were “spies” for the military and that his troops “had to finish them up, otherwise they try to run away during the fighting and then they would come back and it would be very hard for us.” The order came from a “captain of intelligence” at the Karen National Union (KNU) – the political group that controls the KNDO – the general added.
Fortify Rights said the KNU had confirmed they would cooperate with international investigators and share evidence of the killing and other crimes, as well as conducting its own investigation into the atrocities.
A war crime has been committed. Fortify Rights was announced on Tuesday.
Matthew Smith, the CEO of Fortify Rights, said in a statement that this was a massacre that should be investigated and prosecuted. The KNU is setting an important example of transparency, cooperation, and commitment to sharing evidence of atrocities with international justice mechanisms.”
In June, state media accused fighters from the KNDO of killing 25 civilians working on a road construction project.
The men were among 47 people, including 16 women and children, that the KNDO detained on May 31 in Kanele village in Karen state. The 25 men were killed on June 1, and the rest of the group was released a week later, Fortify Rights reported.
Besides interviewing General Ner Dah Bo Mya and Lieutenant Saw Ba Wah, the rights group also consulted a representative from the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), a member of Karen civil society, and independent analysts about the events of June 1.
There has been turmoil in Myanmar since the military seized power in a coup on February 1, with the KNU, one of the country’s largest ethnic armed groups, providing shelter to those fighting against the takeover.
Karen fighters seized a military post, and the army retaliated with airstrikes, the first in more than 20 years, causing 100,000 people to flee their homes, according to the UN.
In its crackdown on the anti-coup movement, the military has been accused of human rights abuses, with 1,000 killed since the coup, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

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