KNU Secretary offers to welcome SPDC defectors

Oct 2, 2007 (DVB), Amid increasing army attacks on their armed wing, the Karen National Union Secretary has said that any Burmese army troops who want to defect to the KNU would be welcomed.

KNU Secretary Phado Mahn Shah, speaking in an interview with DVB yesterday, said that although they consider SPDC leaders to be evil, the group believes that low-ranking officers are as much victims of the SPDC as civilians are.

"Low-ranking officers [of the SPDC] are no different from our civilians, . This is a time for us to join hands together and bring down the dictatorship that has been riding on our backs," said Mahn Shah, urging soldiers to turn their weapons on their commanding officers rather than monks.

Mahn Shah claimed about 70 soldiers from the Burmese army have defected to the KNU since March this year.

Mahn Shah spoke amid increasing attacks by Burma's ruling State Peace and Development Council troops on the Karen National Liberation Army, the KNU's armed wing.

The KNU said a fight broke out between the KNLA's battalion 103, under the command of brigade 6, and SPDC troops on Saturday leaving four dead from the SPDC side; one captain, one lieutenant, one sergeant and one private.

Mahn Shah told DVB the fights between government troops and the KNLA have been taking place up to four times a day in territories of KNLA brigades 1, 2, 3 and 5.

Reporting by Maung Too

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