The Pa-O National Federal Council (PNFC) said in a 14 March statement that it strongly condemns the military council’s incitement that may lead to ethnic and religious conflicts between the Pa-O and Karenni (Kayah) peoples.
The ethnic council said the massacre of 22 people, including three monks and 19 civilians, by junta troops in a raid on the monastery of Nam Neint village in Pinlaung Township, Shan State, is a war crime and strongly condemned the regime’s incitement of false reports aimed at causing ethnic and religious divisions between the Pa-O and Karenni peoples.
Khun Wah, spokesman for PNFC, said they made the statement because they do not want disinformation and incitement between ethnic groups and that Pa-O people should be on guard against fake and real news, have ethnic and political vigilance and not get deceived into these religious instigations.
“Karen, Pa-O and Karenni are of the same family both historically and ethnically, and there has been no problem between us. Our Pa-O people are very pious when it comes to their religion, so we fear that they will go to the extreme situation, it is necessary to carefully analyze the news whether it is true or false, and be politically vigilant. Since we all live in the border areas, there should be no conflict. In politics, people often talk about one region oppressing another and they should not be fooled by that,” said the PNFC spokesman.
In the incident, junta soldiers took photos of the bodies with improvised weapons on them and spread fake news on various Telegram channels dissimulating the military council’s propaganda.
The PNFC said in the statement that the massacre was committed by military council troops, according to evidence obtained by the Pa-O National Defense Forces (PNDF-KK).
In addition, the PNFC has already organized regular meetings with residents of the areas before the incident and reviewed the information on the crime. It will work with ethnic organizations that share the same goals as the PNFC and gather evidence of the regime’s actions so that the international community can act, Khun Wah added.
“We plan to build a mechanism on the ground to keep records because the international community is more interested in cases of crimes against humanity and war crimes. The first step is to put pressure on the international community. The second step is to make sure that such incidents do not happen again during the transition period, and then we will hold the preparers accountable,” he told the Karen Information Center (KIC).
In addition, the PNFC said that the ongoing struggles in the region regardless of race or religion is a revolutionary struggle of all ethnic groups from the hills and plains who refuse to accept the military council and its dictatorial system and call on people to be vigilant, especially against incitement by the military council and its affiliated groups.
After the military took power, the PNFC was formed with Pa-O groups, civil society organizations and participants of the civil disobedience movement from all walks of life with the aim of fighting against the dictatorship and building a federal democracy, and has been working with the National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) since then.
Sent by KIC.