Pa-O National Organisation/Pa-O National Army (PNO/PNA) soldiers allegedly destroyed a Catholic statue and a church in a village in Pinlaung Township, southern Shan State.
A local, requesting anonymity, told SHAN that the Pa-O soldiers demolished the statue of the Virgin Mary, where the majority of residents are Karenni (Kayan), two weeks after destroying the Catholic church in Tatangku in late April.
”Tatangku is a small village and it is why they’re harassing it,” he told SHAN.
The man explained that about 20 PNO/PNA soldiers in civilian clothes led by Lt Nge San were responsible for both attacks in the village that’s near their camp. “They told the residents of the surrounding villages that they would destroy Tatangku and all the Catholic buildings and arrest the headman,” he said.
According to locals, the ethnic armed organisation wants to establish a Pa-O national park after driving everyone away and destroying the village. The PNO/PNA persecuted the Catholic abbot of Tatangku for violating their forest regulations.
“According to the 2008 Constitution, the village is part of the Pa-O Self-Administered Zone and that’s why they think they can make a park in the area. All the villagers are against it, but the PNO/PNA doesn’t listen to them.”
The Karenni have been living in the area for a long time.
Col Zaw Pyan of the PNO/PNA told SHAN, he’s not aware of the problem and currently travelling in central Burma.