DKBA reform

A Democratic Karen Buddhist Army commander told Karen News that the breakaway DKBA factions that refused to give up their Karen identity and come under the direct control of the Burma Army by becoming members of the Border Guard Force have begun restructuring their political and military aims.

The decision was taken at a meeting in August that involved all the renegade units. According to the new DKBA structure, there will be two military strategic units known as Klo Htoo Wah and Klo Htoo Lar operating to the DKBA Klo Htoo Baw headquarters.

The commander said the restructuring would not only be about the political and military role of the DKBA, but would also form Information, International Relations, and health and Intelligence units. The specialized units would be organized under the Klo Htoo Baw Headquarters. An information officer at the DKBA headquarters said.

“The DKBA was not well organized when we fought against the SPDC [regime] on election-day last November. Later we reorganized our structure when Major Saw Beeh led a breakaway group [over a 1,000 soldiers] from the BGF and aligned with us.”

The DKBA information officer said the Klo Htoo Wah strategic unit will be led by Colonel Saw Kyaw Thet and will be active in the Kawkariek, Myawaddy and Kyarkdon areas and Major Saw Beeh’s fighters will operate in the Hlaing Bwe and Myaing Gyi Ngu area.

The DKBA commander said he expected in the near-future the armed group would join the Karen National Union as special-forces units. Meanwhile, the DKBA is working with the KNU on military and political issues.

The DKBA commander explained that since cooperating with the KNU, they are controlling more territory and are able to counteract the Burma Army’s operations.

In 2010, as outlined in the 2008 constitution, the Burma Army attempted to disarm and dismantle the ethnic ceasefire groups and bring them under its control. The military regime’s intention was to reduce their size and reform the groups as a Border Guard Force and bring them under the strict command of the Burma Army. The BGF scheme has failed to deliver on any of its objectives – as witnessed by the recent fighting in Shan, Kachin and Karen States.

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