The desertion, in April of a 1,000 Border Guard Force soldiers from under the control of the Burma Army has given a huge boost to other Karen armed groups.
Karen News reporter Saw K’ Shee has just returned from interviewing the renegade BGF leader, Major Saw Beeh at his undisclosed jungle headquarters.
The former BGF fighters are well organised. They have plenty of equipment, weapons, and bombs. They are prepared for war.
Major Saw Beeh explained to Karen News why he split from under the Burma army control.
“Our Karen people didn’t like the BGF, they looked like the Burma army and the people were afraid we would act like the Burma army if we remained BGF.”
Major Saw Beeh said not long after the BGF hand over ceremony the Burma army started to impose restrictions on the former Democratic Karen Buddhist Army fighters.
“We asked for our DKBA insignia to be sewn on our uniforms, but they refused. We were not allowed to attend Karen cultural celebrations, not even Karen New Year.”
Major Saw Beeh said he’s prepared to work and fight together with KNU fighters against the Burma army.
“If we’re fighting they’ll help us, if they’re fighting we’ll help them.”
Major Saw Beeh said Karen should help Karen.
“We both have the same ideas, we both know who we have to fight and why. Karen people need their freedom, we have to fight for our survival and our culture.”
Major Saw Beeh says about 1,000 of his former DKBA allies who joined the BGF have remained with the BGF under the control of the Burma army.
“After we left the BGF I argued with Major General Chit Thu about why we were leaving. I’ve lost contact with him now. The BGF and the Burma army regard us as the enemy, if they want to think like this we are prepared to fight.”
Major Beeh’s men look ready to fight. His fighters make homemade explosives, clean 81mm mortars and practice operational drills.