Multiple forces in the Divide, An Update on Karen 7th Brigade Region

Karen State, Burma, May 20, 2016
General Area of the 7th KNU Brigade
General Area of the 7th KNU Brigade


Once one of the strongest regions in Burma for the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), the area around KNLA 7th Brigade now stands as one of the most divided. As of March, 2016, the area is now split into six different territories controlled by six different armed groups: the Burma Army, the KNLA, the KNLA PC, the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army 1st Brigade (DKBA 1), a rogue faction of former DKBA soldiers known as the DKBA 2nd Brigade (DKBA 2), and the Border Guard Force (BGF). Despite the divisions the ceasefire is still holding and with the exception of the DKBA 2, all military organizations are maintaining peaceful relations and maintaining a positive line of communication.
Within the gaps however, instances of lawlessness have arisen, and there are still many unsolved problems that continue to affect the 7th Brigade region.


Neither the Burma Army nor the KNLA are laying new landmines in the area, however, the issue of old landmines and minefields still persist.

Military Update

Burma Army

Size – More than 20 battalions

Activity – Stays in camp, not patrolling often

Location – Hilltop 962, Hilltop 913 (close to Mannerplaw), Kawkawhtaw

Unit – Light Infantry Battalion 204 and Division 44

Equipment – Small Arms, RPG’s, 120 mm mortar, armored riverine patrol boat (.50 caliber mounted), no tank/airplane/helicopters. 16/17 supply trucks

Karen National Liberation Army PC

Size – Unknown

Activity – Stay in Camp

Location – Tohkawkoe

Unit – Unknown

Equipment – Small Arms, 81mm mortar, 60 mm mortar, RPG’s

Democratic Karen Buddhist Army Brigade 1

Size – Unknown, varies due to conscription

Activity – Occasional patrols

Location – Walley

Unit – None

Equipment – Small Arms, RPG

Notes: Will randomly conscript villagers to go on patrol with them. Some villagers give consent, some do not indicating forced conscription.

Democratic Karen Buddhist Army Brigade 2

Size – Unknown, possibly around 50

Activity – Taxing people in their region, not patrolling

Location –  Hteekaneh

Unit – DKBA 2 2

Equipment – Small Arms, RPG

Notes: According to local sources the DKBA 2 is no longer officially associated with the DKBA, and have become an rogue isolated faction in K7. Their main activities have involved them levying a tax on local villagers: amount unknown. The DKBA 2 has also withdrawn from communication with other major armed groups.

Border Guard Force

Size – 1 battalion, 60/70 soldiers

Activity – Taxing, charging for a temporary license for cars or trucks: 100,000 Kyat (~ $84USD)

Location – Bobawhtah

Unit – 1016

Equipment – Small arms,  RPG, .50 caliber machine gun(s)