The Burma Army plans to militarize eastern Burma suffered a severe set-back in central Pa-an when more than a 1,000 soldiers of the recently formed Border Guard Force joined forces with fighters aligned to the Karen National Union.
During the last 18 months, the Burma army has attempted to disarm and dismantle ethnic ceasefire groups 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 its army.
The BGF was meant to unarm ethnic ceasefire groups, including the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army.
The Karen National Liberation Army, commander, Major General Johnny, told Karen News in an exclusive interview, that he had been in contact with the breakaway BGF leader, Major Beeh, to discuss how they could best work together.
“We’ve combine our forces with the BGF troops led by Major Beeh in Brigade 7. At the same time, we are also militarily prepared and, if the Burmese army starts to attack, we are in a ‘position of ready’ to strike back.”
The 1,000 plus BGF who have joined with the KNLA were based in the Hlaingbwe township of Karen State and KNLA troops under brigade 7 had contacted and combined themselves where they are now ready to fight back the Burmese government troops.
Major General Johnny said there growing tension amongst the BGF in the last few weeks in the Myaing Gyi Ngu area, resulted in Major Beeh joining forces with the KNLA.
“There are four Battalions from BGF and three from our side. From each of our battalion, we will combine with BGF troops that are operating close to their respective area.”
In another development local residents say the DKBA chief advisor and spiritual leader, the abbot of Myaing Gyi Ngu, , instructed BGF troops to change their badge back to that of the DKBA. It is thought Abbot U Thu Zana has been staying in a neighbouring country after receiving death threats.
Military sources in the region told Karen News that in an attempt to ease tensions and prevent splits among the newly formed BGF troops, Burma army, General Maung Maung Ohn held a meeting last week in Pa-An, between seven DKBA representatives and his officers.
Karen News spoke with a BGF senior officer based in Myawaddy who denied knowledge of the split in Myaing Gyi Ngu.
Recent fighting in Hti Lon area and in the Myaing Gyi Ngu between warring BGF is concrete proof all is not well with the BGF. Eyewitnesses in the area say BGF soldiers have replaced their insignia with their original DKBA badges and there have been reports of BGF soldiers arrest their senior [BGF] officers. Reports received by Karen News have confirmed BGF soldiers are using guerilla tactics to target a Burma army camp near Ka Ma Maung village.