Myanmar’s military has been accused of many atrocities and war crimes over the years. Ethnic armed organizations opposing the military junta, however, are also capable of similar injustices. The Karen National Union (KNU), which has fought Myanmar’s armed forces for over 70 years through military branches like the Karen National Defence Organisation (KNDO), has recently come under scrutiny for a possible war crime.
KNDO commanders General Ner Dah Bo Mya and his subordinate, Lieutenant Saw Ba Wah, have admitted that their troops killed 25 unarmed construction workers on June 1st. The men were part of a group of 47 men, women, and children who were detained by the KNDO from Kanele Village. The KNDO received orders from KNU intelligence stating that these workers in civilian clothes were actually military spies. General Ner Dah Bo Mya stated that it was therefore essential to kill them and prevent them from escaping back to the military junta. One human rights group has denounced the massacre as a war crime.
Unlike Myanmar’s military junta, however, the KNU has agreed to cooperate with international investigators and share information and evidence of this or any other crime. The general, who has been suspended by the KNU since early July, is resistant to participating in investigations. A KNU spokesman, however, told Bangkok Post, “We stand firmly on our commitment to the Geneva Conventions and the international community, and we have to deal with this carefully… According to the Geneva Conventions, even if they are our enemies, we just arrest them, you cannot kill like that.”
- Praise the Lord, the God of justice, and thank Him for the cooperation and transparency of the KNU.
- Pray that God comforts the bereaved families and brings both justice and forgiveness to their situations and hearts.