The KNU breakaway “Peace Council” faction Expels Two Commanders Who joined revolutionary offensive near Chinese mafia ‘s Shwe Kokko New City Myawaddy district Karen State

On April 7, the breakaway faction of the KNU/ KNLA that refers to itself as (KNU/KNLA-Peace Council ), expelled two of their senior military officers for participating in the recent fighting against the Junta-aligned BGF militia near the new city complex of Shwe Kokko, north of Myawaddy Township.

Since the 5th of this month, the two commanders from the KNLA- PC, a splinter group participated in the joint revolutionary forces including the mainstream KNLA, and the Military Council-BGF joint forces. According to sources on the ground, the fighting between the two sides continued until yesterday, resulting in over 80 casualties on the BGF side.

Many Karen civil society groups had complained during February and March that local KNU/KNLA brigades in Myawaddy had allegedly failed to do anything to protect Karen workers from abuse by the BGF militia forces and Chinese company jointly- controlled criminal complex of Shwe Kokko. The registered name of the Chinese investment company is Yatai International.

Video footage released by the joint revolutionary forces shows that during the battle, several BGF gate stations were attacked and burned, and a significant amount of weapons and ammunition were seized by the joint revolutionary forces.

Colonel Saw Lat Kai, the military strategy commander of KNU/KNLA-PC’s No. 2, and Lieutenant Colonel Saw Kyaw Kayaw, the commander of Battalion-708, have been dismissed from their positions as a result of an emergency meeting decision by the organization’s central.

The decision was made due to their failure to comply with the organization’s central instructions and military regulations.

“We are going along the path to peace and they don’t want to go on the path of peace. It is their choice to go on the path that leads them to attack. That’s the part that is not compatible with our path of peace,” KNU/KNLA- peace council spokesperson Colonel Saw Maung Maung told KIC.

Colonel Saw Maung Maung also stated that the leaders of the organization had attempted to follow up with them to negotiate and prevent their dismissal from the organization. However despite efforts to reach a resolution through negotiation, an agreement could not be reached, leading to their dismissal.

In spite of war raging inside Myanmar, the P-C Karen faction stands aloof and their prime activity is their on-going acceptance of NCA peace talks with the Military Council.

The battle between the BGF and Military Council forces responded with a large number of troops, the battle became intense, resulting in more than 4,000 local residents from nearby villages being forced to flee to the Thai side for safety.

Fighting has been ongoing in Myawaddy Township, Kawkareik Township, and along the Myawaddy-Kawkareik Asian Highway since March 25. The Military Council, which has suffered significant losses, has been using civilian vehicles to transport manpower and supplies. In response, eight revolutionary cooperative groups have issued a joint order advising against all travel from April 7 to 21.

The irony in these expulsions of renegades from the “KNLA peace faction” is that their faction was formed under the leadership of Maj. Gen. Saw Htein Maung, after he was expelled from the KNU Central Committee for initiating peace talks with the military government without KNU approval.

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