Karen armed groups will not endorse new Kawthoolei Army splinter

Karen armed groups will not endorse new Kawthoolei Army splinter

The Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) and Karen National Defence Organization (KNDO) — the two armed wings of the KNU — issued a statement on July 20 affirming that a decision to dismiss ex-Commander-in-chief of the KNDO, Maj. Gen. Nerdah Mya, had been made by the KNU’s Emergency Central Executive Committee.

The statement was issued in both Burmese and English and came shortly after the KNLA said it refused to acknowledge the ex-commander-in-chief’s newly formed armed group, the Kawthoolei [Karen State] Army, arguing the armed group was formed “only by wishes of one group and an individual.”

The KNU claimed that Nerdah Mya — who was appointed as chief of staff of the KNDO in 2013 and is the son of the ex-head of the EAO — “frequently violated the rules and responsibilities…”  and therefore had to be “…corrected many times” since he started serving his duties.

The EAO said that Nerdah Mya’s actions were “no longer relevant” to KNU — the commander had been found guilty of a massacre of workmen operating in KNU territory that he had claimed were military spies — and highlighted the new splinter group was “not affiliated with the KNU/KNLA.”

The EAO said that Nerdah Mya had been found by it to be responsible for “extrajudicial killings”, and that he had refused to cooperate with the KNU’s investigation.

The former commander-in-chief was suspended from his duties in early July last year after he was found responsible for the massacre of construction workers in Karen’s Myawaddy district in June.

Immediately after announcing the formation of the Kawthoolei Army, the commander is believed to have gained the support of a number of defecting KNDO troops and PDF factions.