Ethnic conflicts in Myanmar's borderlands have flared anew since a coup on Feb. 1, and this week junta-controlled media reported fighters belonging to the Karen National Defence Organisation (KNDO) had committed the atrocity.
The Karen National Union, the KNDO's political wing, said in a letter dated June 16 its investigation would establish the truth.
"The Karen National Union follows the Geneva Convention which doesn't accept killing civilians during armed fighting," it said.
They said the men had been working on a bridge in the Myawaddy District and were abducted on May 31 in a group that also included 10 children and six women.
The newspaper reported seven bodies were found on June 11, one burnt and the others with hands tied behind their backs and the other 18 bodies were found the next day. read more
A video shared on social media that purports to record one of the killings shows a bound man being repeatedly stabbed before his throat is slit and body mutilated.
Reuters has not verified the authenticity of the video.
The United Nations General Assembly is set on Friday to call for a stop to the flow of arms to Myanmar and urge the military to respect November election results and release political detainees, diplomats said. read more
Myanmar has been in crisis since the coup and the generals have struggled to impose order, blaming the violence on "terrorists" and arresting thousands of people, including teachers, doctors and journalists.
"We are shocked and frustrated that he has been detained for no apparent reason," Frontier said. Myanmar's state-run MRTV made no mention of the court appearance in its nightly news bulletin
In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price called on Myanmar to grant consular officials access to Fenster and to ensure proper treatment while he remains detained.
"Our consular officers in Burma have sought to visit Daniel but we have not been afforded access to him by regime officials," Price told reporters on a briefing call.
The United Nations in Myanmar said on Thursday it was alarmed by recent acts of violence that illustrated a "sharp deterioration of the human rights environment".
It highlighted the discovery of the Myawaddy mass graves and the burning of Kin Ma village in Magway Region this week that witnesses said was carried out by security forces.
The U.S. embassy in Myanmar on Thursday described the razing of Kin Ma as "horrific acts" consistent with past military atrocities.
source: Reuters with reporting by Reuters Staff. Writing by Ed Davies; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore