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BGF in chaos – another 80 join Karen army

The Karen National Union issued a statement claiming more than 80 Border Guard Force soldiers had joined their forces in 1st and 7th Brigade in recent weeks. The BGF was a strategy used by the Burma government to unarm, reduce the number of soldiers in the armed ceasefire groups and bring them under the direct control of the Burma Army.…

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Record floods destroy 1,000 acres of Pago farmland

Farmers in Pago (Pegu) area have lost their farmlands to floods caused by heavy rain that has devastated the area since mid July. It is estimated that over a thousand acres of farmlands affected by the floodwaters are unable to be worked on. The heavy rain caused the Pago River to overflow its banks with water levels reaching a record…

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UN encouraged by talks between Suu Kyi and President Thein Sein

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a press statement released yesterday said he was encouraged by a meeting on 19 August between President Thein Sein and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the banned national League for Democracy. The meeting between the Ms Suu Kyi and President Thein Sein was the second in recent weeks. It came about…

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Signs Friendship Bridge will re-open

Rumors are circulating that the trade crossing between Mae Sot on the Thai side and Myawaddy on the Burma side is about to officially open after 13 months of closure. Myawaddy residents are convinced the Friendship Bridge linking the two countries will reopen in a matter of days. A Myawaddy resident told Karen News that there has been discussion between…

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Together at last – KNLA and DKBA celebrate Martyrs’ Day

For the first time in 15 years the Karen National Liberation Army and the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army stood side-by-side to commemorate their fallen comrades at the 61st anniversary of Karen Martyrs’ Day. The historic event took place on August 12 at an area under the control of the Karen National Union in Kawkariek Township, Karen State. The DKBA broke…

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Little hope for immediate national ceasefire

In a rare statement read out on the national state-controlled television last week, Burma’s government urged ethnic groups engaged in armed conflict to contact regional governments to start the process for ceasefire talks. Saw Khar Su Nyar reports. Naing Han Tha, secretary general, of the newly formed ethnic armed groups alliance, United Nationalities Federal Council, said the Burma government would…

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KNU deny State media accusations

The Karen National Union denied reports in Burma’s state controlled newspapers that claimed that on August 8 an attack by Karen fighters had wounded two children in Karen state. Major Saw Kler Doh, an office manager with the Karen National Liberation Army in Brigade 5, based in the Papun District blamed the incident on the Burma Army. Major Saw Kler…

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Talk of Peace Marks 61st Karen Martyrs’ Day

Karen people gathered in the US, UK, Norway, Sweden, Asia, Canada and Ireland and in jungle bases back in their homeland on 12th August, to commemorate their 61st Martyr’s Day. Saw Ehna reports from Karen State. In a jungle base in Southern Burma, 400 supporters from the Karen National Union’s Mergui-Tavoy District office commemorated the 61st Karen Martyrs’ Day with…

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Villagers face fighting, malaria, hunger and displacement

Recent fighting between a breakaway Border Guard Force faction and a group under the control of the Burma Army drove more than 130 villagers in Hlaingbwe Township region from their homes. The villagers are now seeking temporary safety along the Thai Burma border. The fighting in Hlaingbwe Township area is the latest in a series of clashes between the two…

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A Soldier’s Story: My escape from Hell

Forcibly recruited, Maung Lwin Soe served 10 years before he escaped from the Burma army. He tells Karen News reporter, Chamu, his story. In 2002, Maung Lwin Soe (not real name) from Bo Ga Lay town, in the Irrawaddy Delta visited his aunt who lived in Rangoon. When he arrived in Rangoon he was stopped by a plainclothes officer and…

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