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Myaingyingu abbot offers to mediate between warring Karen factions

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – The Myaingyingu abbot U Thuzana has implored to the two Karen factions, which are at each other’s throat to stop fighting and offered to mediate and bring about peace.

Abbot U Thuzan wrote a letter on September 29 to the two armed Karen factions, the Karen National Union (KNU) and the ceasefire group the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), urging them ‘to cease fire and restore peace among them’ before the forthcoming Karen New Year.

The KNU’s 6th Brigade, Duplaya District Chairman Saw Shwe Maung has replied to the letter. It said “Our Chairman held a board meeting at his office and requested the abbot to take part in the peace negotiation as the abbot is the patron of the DKBA rather than just pushing us to the negotiation table before the Karen New Year,” 6th Brigade Information Department in-charge Capt. Hte Nay told Mizzima.

The KNU, fighting for the right to self-determination  split into two factions as the Christian KNU and the Buddhist KNU in 1994 following, which the two sides have been at loggerheads fighting  whenever they can.

The Buddhist faction called themselves the ‘Democratic Karen Buddhist Army’ (DKBA) and signed a ceasefire agreement with the military regime.

The junta gave the DKBA stationed in Myaingyingu village, Hlaing Bwe Township, Karen State some privileges while controlling their area. In the clashes against the KNU, the junta used DKBA forces to spearhead battles, which resulted in high casualties among them.

The KNU HQ also agreed to the peace proposal.

“Our HQ has agreed, which means U Thuzan is to play a leading role in the process. Moreover U Thuzana wrote a letter to us. Our HQ is studying the letter and we will know if it will be successful only when we engage in dialogue with them,” KNU Vice-Chairman David Tharkapaw told Mizzima.

The letter sent by the Myaingyingu abbot says, “The two armed factions should stop fighting each other and I would like to urge that they serve the entire ethnic Karen race”.

The late KNU Chairman Gen. Mya once blamed the Myaingyingu abbot for the split among them, which was a fatal blow to the Karen people. But observers said this was the handiwork of the military junta which systematically drove a wedge among them.

When Mizzima asked DKBA on its view on the peace proposal, an officer of the DKBA’s 999th battalion said on condition of anonymity that in this case, the decision of the Myaingyingu abbot will be vital.

“We are under the guidance of our abbot. We shall do as our abbot says as we are the sons and daughters of our abbot,” Myawadi Township, Shwe Kokko village based DKBA 999th battalion told Mizzima.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 15 October 2009 12:15 )  

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