Four Karen armed organizations will cooperate in holding the 70th anniversary of the Karen National Resistance Day ceremony with a military parade on January 31, the officials said to Karen News.
The leaders of the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA), the Karen National Union/Karen National Liberation Army – Peace Council (KNU/KNLA – PC), and the Border Guard Forces (BGF) agreed to this during a meeting of the Unity Committee for Karen Armed Groups, which was held at the Karen National Union (KNU) Brigade 7 headquarters on October 8.
“We want to do it. We have the intentions. All the Karen armed [groups] will unite and hold the 70th Karen Resistance Day ceremony together with the military columns from respective brigades and columns from other armed groups,” Padoh Saw Hla Tun, vice secretary (2) of the KNU, said to Karen News.
The KNU headquarters have been chosen as the tentative venue for the 70th Karen National Resistance Day ceremony and the issue has already been submitted to the Central Committee and Ceremony Coordination Committees will be established on each level, Padoh Saw Hla Tun continued.
“We have talked about inviting 40 people per group. We don’t have any problems on our side. We are ready to cooperate whether they demand 40 people or 400 people because we have already prepared enough military manpower to hold our DKBA day,” said Lt-Gen Saw Steel, vice chief of staff of the DKBA.
The leaders of the DKBA, the KNU/KNLA-PC including the KNLA’s chief of staff Gen Saw Johnny and the Karen Border Guard Forces’ secretary Col Saw Chit Thu and the committee members attended the one-day meeting of the Unity Committee for Karen Armed Groups.
During the meeting, the participants have agreed to assist the KNU in its political efforts to obtain self-determination for the Karen people, cooperate between all groups to have rule of law in the Karen State, set down a plan to eradicate drugs and gambling dens and carry it out, and close down all logging operations permanently.
The DKBA split from the KNU in 1994 and cooperated with the Tatmadaw and fought the KNU for over a decade. The KNU/KNLA – PC led by Maj-Gen Saw Htin Maung, also known as Saw Htay Maung, split from the KNU in 2007 and signed ceasefire with the government.
The Karen BGF, which is under the Tatmadaw, has been established with the majority of former DKBA members and members of the Karen Peace Forces who accepted the border guard scheme of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) military government in 2009.
The KNU, the DKBA, and the KNU/KNLA – PC signed the nationwide ceasefire agreement on October 15, 2015 together with five other armed organizations.
The Unity Committee for Karen Armed Groups was established at the KNU/KNLA – PC headquarters in Htokawko on March 28, 2013 with the aim to reunite the divided Karen armed groups.
The KNU has been holding the Karen National Resistance Day ceremony annually for nearly 70 years but this is the first time the Karen armed groups are coming together to hold the ceremony together since 1994.