Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Who killed Col. San Pyone? - by Daniel Pedersen (Maesot)

July 2, 2009

One of Pado Mahn Sha’s alleged killers has met the same fate.

Former Karen National Union general secretary Pado Mahn Sha was assassinated on Valentine’s Day 2008 at his home in Mae Sot.

But who killed Colonel San Pyone, the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army’s commander of Battalion Seven under Brigade 999?
The Colonel, for whom arrest warrants had been issued by a Thai Criminal Court for his alleged part in Mahn Sha’s death, was shot to death on June 26 by parties unknown.
He was traveling in a military flotilla of seven boats.
Six soldiers were killed and 20 injured in the attack, which was apparently launched from both sides of the Moei River.
The prime suspects, of course, would be gunmen of the KNU.
But KNU vice president David Thackrabaw said the KNU’s armed wing, the Karen National Liberation Army, was not active in the area.
The attack occurred in KNLA Seventh Brigade region, an area recently ceded to the Burma Army and the DKBA.
Brigade 999 has a fearsome reputation among Karen villagers for forced recruitment, brutal treatment of its recruits and a murderous approach to the local populace.

But if the KNU did not kill San Pyone, then who did?

There is no motivation for the Thai Army to act in such a manner.

Some observers have suggested the Burma Army might have been behind the killing, citing a perceived need for the DKBA’s overseer to keep rogue commanders of its slave militia in line.
With the DKBA’s transformation into a border security force, senior military commanders will become increasingly irrelevant.