#Kawthoolei #Armed #Forces (KAF) #united #Karen #armed #force, #conference

31/10/2014 The Kawthoolei Armed Forces (KAF) the proposed united Karen armed force, held its inaugural conference to establish the group’s formation at at Klo Htoo Baw Headquarters in Sonesee Myaing Village, Myawaddy Township, Karen State from 29th to 30th October.

Major Tun Tun, the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA) 2nd General Staff at Klo Htoo Baw Headquarters said: “We have founded the Kawthoolei Armed Forces, but some organizations are not yet ready. Originally this meeting was going to be held over three days, but we will be able to complete everything in two days.”

He explained that the core objective behind founding the KAF was to unify all Karens under one banner. Previously various Karen groups have tried, but not succeeded, to unify the Karen into one group.

The conference opened on 29th October with an introduction section in the morning followed by an afternoon discussion on establishing the KAF.

The meeting was attended by about 250 representatives from various groups including: the DKBA; the KNU and Karen National Liberation Army/Karen National Union – Peace Council (KNLA/KNU-PC); the Karen National Defense Organization (KNDO); the All Burma Students Democratic Front (ABSDF); various Karen Women’s groups; Karen youth networks and township representatives.

Major Tun Tun said the KAF “will begin to form with the groups we already have [that are willing to join the KAF]. The Karen National Union (KNU) according to its policy approves of the formation of the KAF but is not yet ready to join.”

After discussing the formation of the KAF at their 13th October Central Permanent Emergency Meeting the KNU announced that they approved of the idea of forming the KAF because it had previously existed, but they would only take the decision on whether to join at their upcoming congress meeting.

According to a KAF press release on 29th October the objective of the KAF is to represent all the Karen people in their struggle for autonomy whilst standing for equality and justice.

The KAF also pledges to preserve and safeguard its motherland and national culture, to resist those who damage the peace, to cooperate with other ethnic armed groups, to support peace, to stand on the side of justice, and to join hand-in-hand with other democratic forces to achieve a true democratic federal union. CR. IMNA


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