According to a businessman from Karen State’s Kawkareik Township, regional military authorities have responded to recent bomb blasts in Burma by publicly refusing to take responsibility for future such incidents in the area.
A market in Kawkareik Township was bombed on February 15th of this year; according to Mizzima News’s coverage of the event, 3 were injured, and one victim later died from his wounds. The tragedy was followed by a series of bomb blasts across Burma, including one on April 27th in Mon State’s Kyaikmayaw Township.
According to village residents, on May 1st, soldiers from the Burmese Infantry Battalion (IB) No. 81, under the jurisdiction of the Southeast Command (SEC), arrived in Kyone Pae village, Kawkareik Township. According to the businessman IMNA spoke with, the battalion held a meeting that same day, where soldiers informed Kyone Pae villagers that the battalion would refuse all responsibility, legal, investigative, or otherwise, for potential future blasts in Kyone Pae. The announcement reportedly was spurred by rumor of bomb threats within the village.
“The authorities also ordered the villagers to inform them if they receive visitors at their homes, and the villagers will be punished if they do not report [this] to the authorities” he said.
The soldiers also ordered the villagers to watch for blasts from their homes, and to clear garbage from the fronts of their houses, in order to prevent explosives from being planted in the debris, he added.
A second source from Kyone Pae, who asked to only be identified as Mi Non, informed IMNA that residents have been made extremely frightened by IB No. 81’s warnings of future explosions; paranoia about bombs being planted in residential areas is mounting. The battalion is reportedly still stationed in the village.
IB No. 81’s May 1st discussion comes at the heels of similar security meetings held around Mon State; on April 26th, 4 Burmese military battalions called village headmen to their regional bases in Moulmein, Mudon, and Thanphyuzayurt Townships. At the conferences, village headmen were ordered to increase bomb-prevention measures in each of their respective villages, and informed that in the event of an actual explosion within their communities, responsibility for the tragedy would be given to them.