The Burma government’s recently implemented Border Guard Force in Karen State continues to see its soldiers’ desert to join up with opposition forces.
This week another 30 soldiers aligned themselves to the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army battalion in the Myaing Gyi Ngu area and led by Major Saw Beeh.
Brigadier General Saw Jonny, the commander of the Karen National Union Brigade 7 confirmed the desertions.
“30 BGF soldiers joined with Major Saw Beeh and brought weapons with them.”
Brigadier General Jonny said 15 of the renegade soldiers were under the Major Soe Naing commander of BGF Battalion (1011) and 15 under Major Maung Chit commander BGF Battalion (1014).
Brigadier General Jonny said the constant desertions were an indicator that Karen is not happy serving under the direct supervision of the Burma Army.
In 2010, as outlined in the 2008 constitution, the Burma Army attempted to disarm and dismantle the ethnic ceasefire groups and bring them under its control. The military regime’s intention was to reduce their size and reform the groups as a Border Guard Force and bring them under the strict command of the Burma Army.
Senior army officers tasked with the job of establishing the BGF have met with armed resistance as the militia groups tried to hold on to their power, their assets and their ethnic identities.
The DKBA commander, Major Saw Beeh, one of the first to split from the BGF, in May this year, took more than 1,000 soldiers to fight alongside the Karen National Union’s army in Brigade 1, 5 and 7.