KNU’s grand forum brings all different Karen armed groups together in a public forum aimed at forging unity in fighting the military dictatorship

The KNU ( Karen National Union) recently convened a landmark general forum to bring together all different strands of the Karen armed organizations and the public in Takaw (Kyar Inn) Village of Hlaingbwe Township in Karen State for the first time since the , according to KNU’s statement on November 12th.

Before and after the 2021 coup, KNLA brigades had policy differences, and the DKBA (Karen Buddhist Army) and the KNLA-PC are breakaway factions from the KNU, who at various timeshad been bitter enemies.

Padoh Saw Hla Tun the KNU’s General Secretary number 2 told KIC “ This meeting was held with the aim of informing the people about the political policies and processes currently practiced by the KNU, the political objectives of the KNU, and rebuilding unity from the differences between the Karen people”.

The KNU leaders who attended included KNU Vice Chairman Padoh Saw Kwe Htoo Win, Padoh Saw Hla Tun a General Secretary (2) Joint Secretary,NLA Chief of Staff General SawJohnny, and Central Standing Committee member Hpa-An District Chairman Padoh Saw Aung Maw Aye.

The Hpa-An District Chairman explained to the public about KNU’s position, political processes and policies during the nearly 2 years afterthe coup. This kind of meeting was held for the first time since the coup, KNU said.

1500 People from Hlaingbwe, Paingkyon, Htilon, Nabu, and Donyin, 5 townships within the control area of Hpa-An district of KNU attended the public meeting held on November 11.

Officials from various Karen armed organizations also attended the public meeting in Kyar Inn village including Vice Chairman of KNU/KNLA PC General Dr. Naw Kapaw Htoo, Chairman of Border Guard Forces (BGF) General Saw Tun Hlaing, Colonel San Aung of Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) as well as religious leaders including Me Samate Monastery Abbot Ashin Sandara, Baptist Reverend Bishop Saw Sa Say Phaw, Karen National Democratic Party (KNDP) Chairman Man Aung Pyi Soe who all served as the chairpersons of the forum.

The leaders of the various Karen armed groups , who attended the ceremony openly discussed their own views and opinions about the political and military situations after the coup. The Karen Forces Unity Committee was established on May 28, 2013, formed with 17 individuals from various organizations with the aim of preventing conflicts between the Karen armed groups and cooperating in the fight against drugs.

A person who attended the forum but did not want to disclose his identity told KIC, “This is the first time that the top leaders of various organizations and the grassroots were able to meet. We shouldn’t have too many high hopes for the meeting yet, because in the 5 years since the NCA was signed, the leaders have not been in contact with the public.”

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