Villagers Petition All Karen Armed Groups To Unite Under One Force

Residents and monks from 30 Karen villages have called for all Karen armed groups to join under a single banner to stop drug running and to help restore law and order.

Karen civilians from northern Kawkareik Township in Karen State delivered a petition calling on the various Karen armed groups to unify into one single armed force.

The villagers submitted their signatures on May 31, having gathered at Tohkawko Monastery, with over 400 residents and monks from 30 villages in the area putting their names to paper calling on the various Karen armed groups, including the Karen National Union (KNU), Democratic Karen Benevolence Army (DKBA), KNU/KNLA Peace Council (PC) and Karen Border Guard Force (BGF) to unite.

Sayadaw U Thondara, the Abbott of Tohkawko Monastery speaking to Karen News said that the all the armed groups should unite for the sake of unity, the wellbeing of the Karen nation and to better ensure law and order is in place to protect citizens.

“I have to insist on behalf of the public that considering that these areas have long suffered because of civil war, now things have calmed down. Therefore the public does not need to depend on so many armed groups. Law and order will be achieved if we Karen people establish a united armed force. After that we can work fully together,” Sayadaw U Thondara said.

The demands of the villagers petition were – the reconciliation of all Karen Armed Groups, establishment of a common ‘judiciary system’ for Karen people, a moratorium on forestry companies, a prohibition of illegal drugs and an expression of opposition against a dam that will be constructed along the Pa-ta river.

Saw Thein Than Soe, an administration official from Nabu Takhundine village tract spoke to Karen News about his community’s concerns about the rising levels of drug use and gambling and a general lack of law enforcement.

“We call for unity to the splinter armed groups from Karen National Union (KNU). We believed that the law enforcement would be achieved for local villagers if the establishment of a united armed group was successful.”

This is the first time a public ceremony demanded the Karen armed groups unity.

Recently, Karen armed groups led by KNU’s Chief-of-Staff, General Saw Johnny, Brigadier General Saw Yin Nu from the KNU/KNLA Peace Council, Brigadier General Tun Hlaing from BGF, the DKBA’s General Maung Kya and other commanders from different military units got together and were going around to villages advocating and consulting with villagers against drug issue.

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