Junta troops killed 21 locals, including three monks, in a raid on a monastery in Shan state’s Pinlaung township according to the Pa-O National Defense Force.
In a statement released Sunday, it said the Myanmar army carried out a dawn raid on Nan Neint village on the previous day.
An information officer from the Karenni National Defense Force, which arrived at the scene after the killings, said most of the victims were shot dead.
“We can confirm from our comrades and scouts that the junta troops went into the village,” said the official who declined to be named. “We can confirm that … people were killed. Most of them were shot. I think most of the troops were from the army’s 66th Division.”
He said the dead were between the ages of 25 and 30, The bodies were taken away by the Karenni National Defense Force for forensic examination.
In a Monday broadcast on regime-controlled Myanmar Radio and Television, Junta spokesperson Major Gen. Zaw Min Tun accused the Karen National Progressive Party and Karenni National Defense Force of carrying out the killings and putting the blame on junta troops.
“The Pa-O region has always been a peaceful region, but the KNPP and KNDF groups in the south are broadcasting this news to destroy the peace and stability of the Pa-O region, and intend to create illusions between the government and army and Pa-O people,” he said.
Fighting between the army, ethnic Karenni fighters and local People’s Defense Forces has intensified in Shan state in recent weeks, according to members of the anti-regime forces.
Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Mike Firn.