KNU calls cease-fire talk with Burma’s new government
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KNU calls cease-fire talk with Burma’s new government

Although the November elections had come to an end and President Thein Sein had sworn in, armed conflicts continued between DKBA breakaway group and Burma Army troops since early November, 2010. Then in early February, the Burma Army reinforced its troops under the South-East Command in Karen State, especially in Three Pagodas Pass and Myawaddy border areas with troops under the control of LID 77 and LID 22.

The Karen National Union (KNU) has fought the Burmese army since 1949. The KNU is the main resistance movement among the ethnic minority, which makes up about 7% of Burma’s population.  The KNU’s armed wing, the Karen National Liberation Army, has fought the Burmese government for self-determination for six decades. The ruling military junta in Burma, which seized power in 1962, launched big offensives against the Karen many years ago. The KNU strongly supports to  pro-democracy movement in Burma.

On Monday (April 4) KNU has called for Thein Sein’s new government to talk an end of hostilities and hold a meaningful political dialogue with ethnic armed groups.

‘The KNU strongly urges the government to order the army to leave ethnic areas, to end the violence against civilians and to hold a serious political dialogue with the opposition’, KNU said in its statement.

The statement also called on the United Nations to force Burma’s Thein Sein Government to sit down at dialogue table for cease-fire and reconciliation.

DKBA and KNU forces used guerrilla warfare strategy to cut off and raid Burmese Army’s supply-lines and some rear supply transport units. Deadly bomb-blasts also happened in Myawaddy and Kawkareik cities. According to a war summary issued by the DKBA on February 11, 251 Burmese soldiers were killed while 278 were wounded during the two months from 2010 November 30 to 2011 January 31.

During that time five DKBA members died in action and nine wounded. In the war summary issued by the KNU, there were 1083 armed clashes in 2010 resulting in 618 dead and 1304 wounded on Burma Army side with 16 captured alive while the KNU suffered 9 dead and 9 wounded. The Burma Military Headquarters ordered torching of hidden Karen villages and paddy fields in KNU-and DKBA-controlled areas. Moreover, the order includes killing of all ethnic people found inside war zones.

The KNU had many talks with the military regime in the past. But, it was in vain as the military regime has demanded their total surrender. That is intolerable to the KNU.

According to observers, the ongoing civil war may not stop as long as the military keeps hold of power. People believe Thein Sein regime, a military-backed fake civilian governmrnt, will not reconcile with ethnic armed groups who demand for their self-determination.