In a speech delivered at the celebration marking the formation of Border Guard Force, a militia group under the control of the Burma Army, Colonel Chit Thu, claimed that his troops are for the benefit of the Karen people.
Colonel Chit Thu, senior advisor and general secretary of the Karen State BGF central command said, in his speech at the 4th Anniversary of the formation of the BGF, that right from the beginning by keeping their arms the BGF could protect the Karen people.
“We took up arms to provide protection for our own people. We still have our arms in our own hands. The BGF soldiers must live and act in accordance with rules and regulations that civilians can trust and rely on us – we have to stand by the civilians.”
Attending the ceremony was a former enemy of Col. Chit Thu, General Saw Johnny, Chief-of-Staff of the Karen National Liberation Army – the armed wing of Karen National Union.
Speaking to Karen News, General Johnny said it was time for all Karen people to work for Karen people.
“Let the past stay in the past. We are all Karen. The more important thing now is that the Karen people need to do their work for all Karen if they call themselves Karen.”
Colonel Chit Thu and majority of BGF troops operating in Karen State are from the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) faction that broke away from the KNU and allied itself with the Burma Army in 1994.
In 2010, the majority of DKBA troops, including those led by Colonel Chit Thu accepted the Burma government’s demands to transform itself into the Border Guard Force, under the command of the Burma Army.
A DKBA faction led by, General Saw Lah Pwe rejected the government’s demands to reform into the BGF and are still operating under the DKBA banner today.
Colonel Chit Thu stressed in his speech that the BGF should uphold and follow the martyred Karen National hero, Saw Ba U Gyi’s principles that state that the Karen shall retain their arms and will decide their own destiny.
Col. Chit Thu urged all the Karen people to be united to enable them to decide their own destiny.
The BGF anniversary ceremony held at Shwe Kokko Myaine village in Myawaddy Township of Karen State was also attended by Major General Tin Maung Win from Burma Army South Eastern Command, BGF officials, representatives from all Karen armed groups, officials from government departments, ethnic leaders and local civilians – a total number of more than 4,000 people. A similar ceremony was held at BGF 1022 Command that was led by Major Saw Mote Thon in Myawaddy town of Karen State.