Tuesday, January 6, 2009

DKBA Told It Must Provide Border Guards

The Irrawaddy News

The Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), a splinter group of the Karen National Union, is expected to provide border guards under the terms of Burma’s new constitution, members were told at Independence Day celebrations at the headquarters of the DKBA’s Battalion 999.

The battalion commander, Col Chit Thu, said he had been given the news at a meeting with government officials in Naypyidaw. The DKBA, which signed a ceasefire agreement with the Burmese military regime after splitting with the KNU in 1995, was not expected to disarm, however.

Chit Thu was addressing DKBA members at Independence Day commemoration ceremonies at Shwe Kokko village, in Myawaddy Township, near the Thai-Burmese border.

A Karen businessman who is close to the DKBA leadership said some senior members of the group were unhappy with the news that DKBA members were expected to serve as border guards and had threatened to resign. He thought low-ranking members of the DKBA would continue to serve, however.

Meanwhile, a government team that arrived in Myawaddy on December 27 closed all border checkpoints near DKBA-controlled areas and ordered the group to halt illegal business, said a Burmese police official in Myawaddy.

According to a member of the New Mon State Party, some members of DKBA Battalion 999 had explored the possibility of establishing a base in the Three Pagodas Pass area, on the Thai-Burmese border at the end of December.

Col Nyan Tun, a member of the Mon National Liberation Army, said the Burmese military had established a base of its own in the area in preparation for an assault on KNU forces.

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