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KNU PRESS RELEASE NO. 1/97
KAREN NATIONAL UNION
PRESS RELEASE No. 1/97
FROM THE KAREN NATIONAL UNION ON THE 1997 SLORC OFFENSIVE
February 20, 1997
1. The massive military offensive against Karen National Union Headquarters at Hteekerpler in KNU 6th Brigade area, began on February 2nd 1997. The offensive has now extended to the KNU's 4th Brigade of Mergui-Tavoy District area. Simultaneous offensive
s against the KNU are also occurring in KNU Brigade areas 1, 2, 3, 5 and 7.
2. In this general offensive against the KNU human rights abuses such as arbitrary arrest, portering, rape, torture, murder, looting, and the destruction of property, have been perpetrated by SLORC troops against thousands of civilians in the various fro
nt-line areas. Many of these civilians are trapped inside these brigade areas and have been unable to cross the border into Thailand due to the overwhelming presence of SLORC troops.
3. Within days of the start of the offensive against the KNU 6th Brigade area, an influx of over 20, 000 refugees into Thailand has occurred. Many more refugees are expected to cross the border into Thailand. Although international relief organisations
are assisting some of these refugees at present, further assistance such as shelter, sanitation, clean water, food, medicines, medical assistance, are urgently needed.
4. The SLORC is not only conducting an all-out military offensive against the KNU, but its Psychological Warfare Department also waging a propaganda campaign by spreading false rumours amongst the people in these areas to discredit the KNU. These false
rumours state that there is a split between the President of the KNU, General Bo Mya, and the vice-president of the KNU General Shwe Hser, and that there has been a massive surrender of KNU troops to the SLORC side.
5. The basic policy of the KNU is to resolve the political problems between the KNU and SLORC peacefully by political means through dialogue, but the SLORC has responded with a massive military offensive. Therefore the Karen people and other united ethn
ic groups of Burma and pro-democracy forces will now have to continue to wage a war of resistance against the SLORC.
February 20th, 1997.