IMNA – The Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) has countered the recent statement made by the Karen State Democracy and Development Party (KSDDP) that the DKBA no longer exists due to its transformation into a Border Guard Force (BGF) according to constitutional law by pointing out that the DKBA is still active with thousands of soldiers.
The KSDDP’s statement was made through a government-owned television station on 2 September.
According to DKBA’s information officer from Kolohtoobow Military Heard-quarters, “DKBA still stands with the strength of about 3,000 soldiers, mainly the troops led by Brigadier General Saw Lar Bwe, also known as Bo Moustache and Major Saw Bi”.
Factions of the DKBA that refused to comply with the Burmese government’s demand to transform itself into a BGF have combined with troops of the Karen National Union (KNU) and are actively fighting against Burmese troops, the officer said.
The remaining DKBA troops are cooperating with the KNU at Myawaddy, Kawkareik, Kyainnseikkyi, Three Pagodas Pass, and areas near Myaing Gyi Ngu, such as Hlaing Bwe and Hpa-an.
The officer added that these DKBA troops are cooperating with the KNU militarily, while also joining forces with the KNU politically.
The DKBA was formed when troops split from the KNU in 1994. Many DKBA factions agreed to become BGF with the arrangement of the Burmese government before the 2010 election.
Brigadier General Saw Lar Bwe (Bo Nauk Kham Mwe) did not accept the reformation demand, and continues to use the ‘DKBA’ name for his rebel troops.
The KSDDP, which announced that the DKBA no longer exists, formed a political party with a former officer of the DKBA after some DKBA battalions changed into BGF in 2010.
The Chairman of KSDDP is Saw Tha Htoo Kyaw, the Vice Chairman is Saw Aung Ngwe, and the Secretary is Saw Than Mya. The current Minister of Finance for Karen State, U Saing Chit Hlaing, is from KSDDP, according to KIC news.