Troops from the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army who last year agreed to become a border force have now reneged and last week destroyed a weapons cache belonging to their former unit.
Twenty-nine troops from Border Guard Force (BGF) 1012, based in Karen state’s Myainggyingu, said they are also preparing to join sides with the Karen National Union, which has been fighting the Burmese regime for more than six decades.
Three soldiers from BGF 1012 died in the Myainggyingu assault on 22 April, in which the 29 set fire to an armoury and destroyed heavy weapons ammunition.
Yesterday, additional troops launched a second attack on a Burmese army battalion in Kamamaung, setting fire to a ration storage and razing an armoury.
Contact has already been made between the BGF 1012 defectors and the Karen National Union (KNU), according to a commander in its armed wing, the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA).
Colonel Hpaw Do said however that it was unclear why the unit, led by company leader Hpa Mee, defected.
It becomes one of the most prominent defections since the DKBA acceded to demands by the Burmese army last year and became a Border Guard Force.
Following the transformation, a faction led by renegade commander Na Kham Mwe in November last year launched an attack on the Burmese border town of Myawaddy. His unit is also now fighting alongside the KNLA.
Yesterday afternoon a clash broke out between Karen troops, among them Na Kham Mwe’s faction, and the Burmese army in Kyarinnseikgyi township.
“Around 2.30pm, DKBA and KNLA forces launched a joint attack at the police station in Azin [village in Kyarinnseikgyi township] near where [the Burmese army’s] LIB-371 is based. We still don’t know the causalities yet,” said Major San Aung of the DKBA.
He said a civilian was killed and three injured in another fight that took place on Sunday in Kyarinnseikgyi’s Kyeikdon sub-township. San Aung said three Burmese army personnel were also injured.