Despite changes to its military structure the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA) will continue to participate in the political process of the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA).
The new DKBA Deputy Commander-in-Chief Saw Steel made the statement on 22 April.
He said to KIC News: “Just as Grandfather Lah Pwe [the previous DKBA commander-in-Chief who died on 13 March 2016] instructed before he died, our aim for peace is to “obtain peace and stabilise it”. As for the political process we will continue to carry it out in line with the NCA, just as he [LahPwe] instructed us to.”
The DKBA is one of the three Karen ethnic armed organisations (EAOs) out of the eight EAOs that signed the NCA. The DKBA have said they will join hands with everyone for peace.
The DKBA recently held an emergency meeting of DKBA commanders at Sone See Myaing from 19 to 21 April following the death of their commander LahPwe.
At the meeting General Saw Mo Shay was appointed as the new DKBA commander and military and departmental reorganisations were discussed and approved.
New departments of military training, education, health, social care and economics were also formed and the heads of all departments were promoted to the rank of colonel.
Basic Military Strategy, and Military Operations Command Number 1 and Command Number 2 each had three battalions of troops put under their command.
Previously the DKBA was a far larger organisation known as the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army, but when they signed a peace agreement with the government and decided to become a Border Guard Force (BGF) government militia DKBA Brigade 5 split from the original DKBA because they did not want to join the BGF.
On 8 November 2010 the breakaway DKBA Brigade 5 renamed themselves the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army. During the 2010 elections they attacked government troops and security forces in Myawaddy, Karen State before signing a Union Level Peace Agreement with the government on 11 December 2011.
Courtesy of BNI