DKBA burns two homes belonging to suspected KNU supporters

November 28, 2008

HURFOM, Kawkreik: The Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKB) burned the homes of two families suspected of supporting Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) soldiers, say local sources in Khawkreik District.

On November 15th at 5 pm, Thi Sar Tat Yinn Columns No. 1 and 2 from DKBA Battalion No. 999 entered a village near the headwarters of the Thit Pow Oo river on North Dow Na Mountation, on the Thai-Burma border. Thit Sar Tat Yinn means “faithful battalion,” and is the phrased used to refer to ethnic armed forces that have promised unconditional loyalty and servitude to the Burmese army.

According to a local source, an informant in the village notified the DKBA that two households were helping KNLA soldiers. Village watchmen warned the accused supporters of the DKBA’s approach, however, and they were able to escape ahead of the advancing troops. Many villages in the area organize civilian watch duties. Each day, a rotating group of residents stands guard to warn residents of approaching DKBA, KNLA and Burmese army troops.

According to a HURFOM field report, the two households managed to escape but their homes were looted and burned to the ground. The houses are estimated to be valued 2 million and 1.5 million kyat, respectively.

“This is an example for all of you in this village who support the KNU [Karen National Union, political party to the KNLA],” residents quoted a DKBA officer as telling the village. “Your house will become like [these houses we have just burned].” According to villagers, the DKBA also said there will no longer be a KNU or KNLA in the future history of the Karen revolution. “Only the DKBA will be in the history,” said the officer, “and we will take responsibility for all Karen people.”

The DKBA split from the KNU in 1994, and operates as a loose ally of Burma’s military regime. Over the last few months, it has stepped up operations against the KNU in an attempt to take control of KNU territories. The KNU is one of Burma’s last remaining major ethnic armed groups to has never agreed to a formal ceasefire with the regime.

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