The Democratic Buddhist Karen Army (DKBA) is a proxy force of the Dictators of Burma. They have helped the Burma Army attack their fellow Karen people since 1995. Last year however the Burma Army gave the DKBA an ultimatum. The DKBA need to come under more direct Burma Army control and join the Border Guard Force (BGF). Some elements of the DKBA agreed, some refused and some have not decided. There is increased tension now between the DKBA and Burma Army and some DKBA have fled to rejoin the pro-democratic Karen resistance, the Karen National Union (KNU), while others have fled into Thailand to escape. The following is the story of two DKBA child soldiers who have run away from the DKBA as well as other team updates from the field.
Two child solders who fled the DKBA army, a proxy army of the dictators of Burma
Interviews with two DKBA child soldiers: (names and ID numbers changed for their protection)
Saw Xx: -“When I was 10 years old, in 5th grade in school, Rambo- a DKBA soldier, took me to be a DKBA soldier. My parents could not pay the money they asked for to release me. My teachers dared not say anything to help me and so I became a DKBA soldier. When I came in to the DKBA, two others came with me also. One is Saw Tt, 13 yrs and the other is Saw Pp, 17 yrs. They both also could not pay the money for not being DKBA soldier and were forced to join.I have now run away from the DKBA as now they are forcing us to wear the Burma Army patch on our uniforms and to be part of the Border Guard Force. I do not want to wear the Burma Army Patch. I ran away from Kyaw Kay Ko camp. My future plan is to go to school again and fight against the Burma Army after I’ve finished school. I want to fight against the Burma Army because they oppress us.”Details:
1- Name: Saw Xx, 14 yrs, personal # 111112- Father - Pah3- Mother - Naw4- Has 6 siblings5- From: Htee Ka Thay Hta village, Lu Pleh Township, Paan District.6- Unit: DKBA Brigade 555 , Battalion #37- Battalion commander- Aung Lin, Battalion Deputy Commander- Doe Boe, Company commander- Rambo.
Yy: “- I have to join DKBA because when they attacked the KNLA at Mu Aye Pu, they do not have enough soldiers and forced me to join.. We cannot get much pay as we work for the DKBA. I do not want to wear the Burma Army patch and be part of the Border Guard Force, so that is why I run away. I was in the same unit with Saw Xx.”
1- Yy, 15 yrs #222222- Father- Kyaw3- Mother- Naw4-1 year in DKBA Interview date: 23/08/2010 Defected date: 22/08/2010
Desertions throughout the DKBA:
3/8/10 – 6 soldiers from DKBA 902 Battalion defected to the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), because they didn’t want to join the Border Guard Force.
20/08/10 – 20 DKBA soldiers from DKBA 999 Battalion, which has accepted the Border Guard Force deal by the SPDC, defected to DKBA 907 Battalion as they have refused to join the Border Guard Force.
30/08/10 – In Du Tha Htu District, Karen State, 5 DKBA have deserted as they didn’t want to be part of the Border Guard Force. There are rumors that even more will desert later on.
Other DKBA Activities:
09/07/10 – DKBA troops, along with Burma Army troops have occupied several villages in Win Ye Township, Karen State. LIB 401, LIB 406, and LIB 410, under the control of TOC 2, MOC 8, have, along with DKBA troops, occupied the villages of Kyel Chaw, Win Ka Na, Par Pra, Ma Au, Lay My Kone, and Taung Ka Lay. IB 209, under Eastern Command, has occupied Taung Tee village. They are patrolling the area.
14/07/10 – 15 soldiers of DKBA 999 Battalion, led by A’Jee, attacked Ywa Da Shin village (located in Kawkareik Township, Karen State). Two villagers were injured by the mortars; Saw Khee Paw, 13 years old, and Naw Mu Khee, 7 years old.
26/07/10 – Over 850 villages have fled DKBA controlled areas because of fears that the SPDC and DKBA will start fighting over the Border Guard Force issue. DKBA 907 Battalion has refused to join the Border Guard Force, while DKBA 999 Battalion has accepted. There are rumors that 999 Battalion will join with the Burma Army to attack 907 Battalion.
500 villagers from the villages of Kwee Ta, Kee Ler Shu, Mae Ta La Hta, and Thay Baw Boe have fled to Maw Le Char in Thailand. 370 villagers from the villages of Oo Kray Hta, Maw Ker, and Wor Lay have fled to Maw Ker Hta in Thailand.
Thank you and God bless you,
K6 and K7 FBR teams