Soldiers from the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army, including a battalion commander, reunited with the Karen National Liberation Army 201 Battalion, Brigade 6th on June 17 in Kawkareik Towship Karen State.
The DKBA troops led by Lieutenant Colonel Saw Naw Ku, commander of 908 Battalion, the deputy company commander Captain Saw Koo Nu, Platoon commanders Captain Saw Maw Ploe and Captain Saw Hla Khaing, a total of 21 troops with their arms and ammunition joined the KNLA troop led by Lieutenant Colonel Saw Bu Paw, commander of the KNLA’s 201 battalion.
Lt. Col. Saw Naw Ku, spoke to Karen News about the reunification.
“Our leaders are working for peace in the country. We have seen enough division among Karen armed groups – we reunite, as we think it is the right time to do so.”
The DKBA troops came with a RPG launcher, one SKS, one M 79, nine M-16 rifles, two carbines, one HR and two 9.mm pistols.
Lt. Col. Saw Bu Paw, commander of KNLA 201 battalion said, “We made a decision to reintegrate our armed forces at our 15th Congress. This reunification is a strength for all Karen ethnic nationals and its politics.”
The reunified DKBA troops will be regarded as KNLA soldiers and given equal standards including their ranks and will be graded according to their skills and performance.
The DKBA troops used to be under command of the late DKBA leader General Saw Lah Pwe, also known as Nakham Mway, who died early this year.
In 1994, the DKBA broke away from the Karen National Union following disputes over religious discrimination and allied themselves with the Burma Army. This division had weakened the Karen and resulted in the fall of the KNU’s fortified headquarters, Manner Plaw.
The DKBA allied itself with the Burma Army until 2010, when Gen. Saw Lah Pwe rejected to merge his troops into the Border Guard Force and fought against the government’s military in a series of armed skirmishes. The DKBA signed a bilateral ceasefire agreement with the government and were also a signatory to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement signed on 15 October, 2015 with other seven ethnic armed groups.