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BGF leadership resign: Will disarmament, demobilization and reintegration follow?


Colonel Saw Chit Thu, leader of the Karen State Border Guard Force (BGF), and all BGF officers and troops operating under the Tatmadaw resigned from the Southeast Military Command-Yadaka on 14 January.

The Tatmadaw demanded the resignation of three BGF leaders due to a number of violations, including the use of unlicensed motor vehicles, the presence of undocumented Chinese nationals,  and operating illegal businesses such as casinos in the area of Shwe Koe Ko.

After the resignation of Brigadier General Saw Mot Thun, the Tatmadaw continued to pressure Colonel Saw Chit Thu and Major Saw Tin Win to resign.  Eventually the  Tatmadaw was able to negotiate their mass resignations.

The message is a clear warning to some misguided military leaders to avoid following in the footsteps of these recently resigned leaders.

There are additional signs of a crackdown on military-related corruptions taking place.  For example the President’s Office said that work was underway to bring the currently suspended Shwe Kok Kol mega project under government administration due to the excessive granting of permits associated with the project.  

Furthermore,  in March 2020, Kaung Khar militia leaders in north Shan State were arrested due to evidence of their being involved in drug production.  The Kaung Khar Militia was subsequently disbanded. A disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) process followed for remaining militia members, and then pressure was placed on BGF leaders in Karen State to resign for their misconduct.

These events signal to some peace observers that a DDR process may soon follow for the Karen State Border Guard Force (BGF). 

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