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BGF ordered to return DKBA arms

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – The Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) threatened to void its cease-fire agreement with the Burmese government this week unless its arms are returned by the Border Guard Force (BGF), which seized the weapons on Sunday.

DKBA troops board a pickup truck during maneuvers. Photo: MizzimaInformation Department officer Saw Lone Lone told Mizzima that President Thein Sein reportedly issued an order for the BGF to return the weapons. The arms were seized from a DKBA outpost on Sunday, he said.

“If we get back our arms because of this presidential order, the peace can be maintained as before,” he told Mizzima.

Saw Lone Lone said that they received the information about the president’s order from former Lieutenant Colonel Saw Khin Soe, who helped broker the cease-fire deal.

A joint force of the government’s BGF Battalions 1011 and 1019 seized more than 30 weapons from the DKBA’s Kalohtoolar military command center amid strained relations.

To resolve the incident, DKBA Commander Major General Saw Labwe sent a delegation led by Bo Maung Lay to Pa-an on Tuesday to meet Bo Phar Nwee of the BGF and Major General Maung Maung Ohn, who commands BGF troops.

In the meeting, DKBA delegates conveyed DKBA Major General Saw Labwe’s message: “What do you want, arms or peace? If you want peace, you must return the arms seized from us otherwise you will not get peace.”

The DKBA also demanded that the area where Abbot Myanig Gyi Ngoo lives be designated an arms-free zone and DKBA personnel be allowed to stay in the zone to guard the influential abbot.

Saw Lone Lone told Mizzima: “They replied to us that they were trying hard to resolve this crisis as soon as possible. We believe this will be resolved soon.”

The DKBA and government delegations signed a cease-fire agreement at the home of the Karen State Chief Minister in Pa-an on November 3, 2011.

Most DKBA troops are a breakaway faction of the Karen National Union (KNU) that separated from the KNU in 1994. They agreed to join the government’s BGF under the command of Burmese officers on August 18, 2010.
Last Updated ( Thursday, 23 February 2012 21:21 )  

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