A renegade Karen faction of the Border Guard Force (BGF), Battalion 1012, has taken over full control of the BGF headquarters in Myaing Gyi Nyu, southern Karen State, unofficially refusing to serve under Burmese army control, according to Karen sources.
Battalion 1012, formerly of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), is currently on high alert after Lt-Col Po Bi ordered his troops to discard the BGF badges from their uniforms in favor of their old DKBA insignia.
Sources close to BGF 1012 said that Po Bi also deployed his troops from Myaing Gyi Nyu in Hlaing Pwe Township to Mae Tha Waw in southern Karen State. Po Bi’s battalion has an estimated 500 troops. There are a total of 10 Karen BGF battalions comprising some 2,000 soldiers.
“The soldiers from 1012 are no longer wearing BGF uniforms,” said Brig-Gen Johnny, the commander of Karen National Liberation Army Brigade 7. “They have gone back to wearing their DKBA uniforms with DKBA badges.”
|High-ranking DKBA officers pose for a photo in Myaing Gyi Nyu to mark their joining the Border Guard Force in August 2010. (Photo: The Irrawaddy)
The DKBA joined the Burmese government’s BGF initiative in August 2010. The government ordered all ethnic ceasefire groups in April 2009 to transform their units into BGF battalions under Burmese army command. However, most ethnic armed groups—including the ethnic Kachin, Wa, Shan and Mon—rejected the order.
Burmese military officials initiated a BGF advisory board, which comprised seven Karen officers, including the former military chief of the DKBA, Gen Kyaw Than, as well as Col Chit Thu, Gen Tun Hlaing and Pah Nwee.
Po Bi attempted an unsuccessful arrest of the BGF’s Gen Kyaw Than on May 24 in Myaing Gyi Nyu, according to DKBA sources.
“Po Bi disliked the BGF advisors,” said Saw Htee Moo, a source close to the DKBA. “He felt the BGF leaders were forcing his troops to work for them.”
With the exception of Gen Tun Hlaing, the rest of the BGF advisors left Myaing Gyi Nyu due to fears of an attack by Po Bi’s troops.
U Thuzana, an influential Buddhist monk within the BGF and former DKBA circles, reportedly traveled recently to Pa-an, the capital of Karen State, to meet BGF advisor Gen Kyaw Than with the intention of urging him to return the BGF battalions to DKBA ranks. However, Kyaw Than did not meet him.
“Tension between Po Bi and the BGF advisors has not been resolved yet,” said Brig-Gen Johnny. Continue reading ““The soldiers from 1012 are no longer wearing BGF uniforms” Brig7 KNLA Gen.Johnny”