Britain-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) told BosNewsLife that some government backed "forcibly displaced" some 250 Karen villagers and killed at least three others along with a soldier of the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), which says it fights for more rights for Karens.
CSW, which has been investigating the situation in Burma, also known as Myanmar, said the clashed happened in the Dooplaya District, in southern Karen State, and involved the government supported Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) and the Burma Army.
Free Burma Rangers, another group investigations reports of persecution, said government-backed forces such as the DKBA began targeting villagers at the beginning of October in a bid to control the population and gain access to coal, zinc mines, rubber and teak trees.
CSW said it has learned from the Karen Human Rights Group that the DKBA initially warned villagers across the Pa-an District of their intention to attack. "These letters outlined plans to target the Karen National Liberation Army and [the related] Karen National Union. "DKBA forbade villagers from staying in farm field huts during night time and warned them not to contact or support the KNU or KNLA on threat of injury. "
CSW’s Advocacy Officer for Burma, Benedict Rogers said his group strongly condemns "these killings and the forcible displacement of so many innocent Karen villagers. " He said his group has welcomed the "landmark visit planned by [UN Secretary General] Ban Ki-Moon this December and call on the United Nations to set out specific benchmarks for progress, such as the release of political prisoners."
Rights groups have linked attacks against Karens to their Christian faith and fight for an own autonomous region. The Burmese authorities have described reports of human rights abuses as Western propaganda.