June 26, 2018
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Karen Armed Forces near re-unification

The Karen National Union has waged a war for independence and autonomy since shortly after Myanmar achieved its own independence from Britain in 1948. Photo: AFP

The Karen Armed forces have moved a step closer towards unification following a meeting between leaders from three major Karen armed groups.

In a meeting in Myawaddy Township on Tuesday the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) and the Karen National Union/Karen National Liberation Army-Peace Council (KNU/KNLA-PC) agreed in principle to unite their military forces into one coherent group.

Colonel Saw Roger Khin, officer in charge of the KNLA defense department told Mizzima, “There are more than three groups if we count all groups. All Karen armed forces are included. But yesterday only three groups were able to attend. We can conclude that all groups have agreed to form as one group in principle. The leading role is given to the KNU”.

The Colonel added that although an agreement has been reached, “the reality is that it still remains impossible for all of the subordinate ground forces to join under the one banner of the KNU. They will still be with their own military camp within their areas of control”.

The three militant groups were united as the KNU until 1994 when the organization splintered after disagreements over negotiations with the government.

The DKBA seceded from KNU in 1994. And KNU/KNLA-PC also seceded from KNU after the disagreement in the first set of negotiations between the KNU and the Government.

The KNU/KNLA-PC then followed suit and split from the KNU and signed a ceasefire agreement with the government.

The meeting at Myawaddy was led by Chief of Staff, General Saw Johnny from the KNU and attended by Brigadier General Kyaw Thet from the DKBA and from the KNU/ KNLA– PC, Saw Yin Nu.

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