DKBA monk ‘has lung disease’

A prominent monk revered within the pro-Burmese junta Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) is being treated in a Bangkok hospital for lung disease.

It is the second time this year that U Thuzana has been admitted to hospital: he fainted in February and was the diagnosed with the illness. The influential monk has reportedly been in hospital for one week.

In September last year, Thuzana attempted to act as a mediator between the DKBA and the opposition Karen National Union, which has been fighting the Burmese government for six decades. The DKBA split from the KNU in 1995 and allied itself to the ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC).

Weeks prior to the DKBA’s formation, Thuzana had formed the Democratic Karen Buddhist Association, the political wing of what was to become one of Burma’s most notorious militias. The split followed a revolt by Thuzana, joined by his Buddhist followers, against what they alleged was religious discrimination by the predominantly Christian KNU leadership.

An associate of the monk who has been visiting the Bumrungrad hospital over the past week said that doctors were waiting to see whether the 62-year-old needed surgery. His condition is said to be improving.

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