Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The KPF prepares to become Border Guard Force in Three Pagodas Pass

By Rai Maraoh, IMNA

With direct support from the Burmese army, the Karen Peace Force is transitioning to the Border Guard Force in 6 months.

The Karen Peace Force (KPF) is currently preparing for its reassignment as the Border Guard Force (BGF) along the Thai – Burma border in Three Pagoda Pass (TPP), according sources close with KPF groups.

“They (KPF) are arranging to build a new battalion head quarters along the Three Pagodas Pass border, and will receive additional army training from the Burmese forces, depending on what positions soldiers will fill. The Burmese government has given them 6 months to prepare for becoming the BGF. At the moment the KPF do not have specific orders in the township” said a TPP resident, who had spoke with a KPF officer. The soldiers will also receive full material support from the government, including weapons and ammunition.

KPF split from the Karen National Union ( KNU) in 1997 and the same year surrendered to Burmese government.

Currently, there are 500 KPF soldiers, and the formation of a new battalion for the BGF will use about 326 soldiers. However, an SPDC force of 30 Burmese soldiers will augment every battalion, the KPF officer was heard to have said.

“In Three Pagodas Pass, KPF Battalion 3 is preparing to become the border guard,” said a source from the KPF, “They (KPF) demolished their old battalion headquarters, and currently live at the Burmese base as they arrange to build a new battalion headquarters on the border.”

The KPF border guard armies are from the townships of Kyaikdon Battalion no 2, Kyainnseikyi Battalion no 1 and Three Pagoda Pass Battalion no 3.

“Now, the KPF is trying to recruit new members to fill the need for soldier in the border guard force.,” added the source from the KPF ,“They’re trying to organize villagers where they plan on basing their new headquarters. The KPF does not have many soldiers since they split from the KNU.“ According to a Kaowao news article published on May 9, KPF groups met with officer Naypyi Daw and the Southeast Commander, That Naing Win, in Naypyidaw on March 30th, to hold talks about their possible transition to a border guard force.

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