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'Special Force' Joins KNLA on High Alert


By SAW YAN NAING Tuesday, October 19, 2010


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Hardened troops known as the "Special Force" have joined  Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) brigades along the Salween River in anticipation of a post-election assault by the Burma Army.

Seventy Special Force fighters have so far joined KNLA units after a punishing period of combat training.

The six-month training programs are conducted by the KNLA Brigade 5, but recruits are taken from all seven KNLA brigades.

One recruit, Po Deh, told The Irrawaddy: “Our trainer told us  that as we are called the Special Force, we need to be very special, like no other soldiers. We have to be not only brave, but also smart and physically strong.”

KNU soldiers hold their weapons while standing guard at their base in Karen State. (Photo: Getty Images)
The training program includes a punishing series of exercises to boost physical strength and endurance. War games are staged, with penalties for the losers.

Participants are woken without notice in the early hours, ordered to assemble their weapons and sent out on maneuver.

Another recruit, Poe Li, said: "Burmese government troops can't expect any mercy from us."

Thailand's army has also increased its military presence along the Thai-Burmese border facing eastern Karen State, where 4,000 troops of the KNLA are now on high alert as the Nov. 7 election approaches.

Related Article: Ethnic Armed Groups Prepare for War

COMMENTS (12)
 
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Foreign Volunteer Wrote:
22/10/2010
Where can I join the KNLA?

Free Man Wrote:
20/10/2010
"We suffered enough with the KNU when I was young."

I deeply feel sorry for what you went through. And I can also tell you the suffering of the Karen people since Burmese feudalstic rule. Have a look at Burma and the Karens by Dr. San C. Po and Memoirs of the Four-foot Colonel by Gen. Smith Dun. I think it is best to employ parallel thinking when talking about conflicts so that we can see things from both sides. I mean if we have a sense of justice, impartiality, sincerity,etc.

I think we should learn from the past and forgive each other. More importantly, we should invest our energy and resources in striving for a free, harmonious and egalitarian society. And the revolution must first begin within our hearts and minds before we think of changing others and the society. We need to rigorously self-examine ourselves if we are biased, corrupt and insincere in our thoughts, words and deeds.

Free Man Wrote:
20/10/2010
"And toiling for more than 60 years without any possible sign in that direction should give them some hint of the fact as well.
That should be a lesson for all ethnic armed groups raring to DIE for their cause no less."

In Listening to Voices from Inside: People's Perspectives on Myanmar's 2010's Election, a young Arakan Young interviewee said that they tried to achieve their goals by parliamentary means between 1948 and 1962 but to no avail. So, they favour military means. In fact, some ethnic groups even feel that they were duped by signing the Panglong Agreemetn.

And let us be honest and objective. The majority of us haven't really cared their concerns. For instance, many from the older generation welcomed Bo Ne Win in 1962 because they saw non-Burman ethnic issue as a problem and didn't strive to resolve them justly and sincerely. Aung Naing Oo also makes speculation that simliar attitude might arise in the future when we achieve some sort of democracy.

Free Man Wrote:
20/10/2010
"And the best bet for the KNLA and others today should be building solidarity, understanding, cooperation, coordination etc. with all brethren, mainly the Daw Suu- led NLD."

I think they have been doing that since 1988, and their activities in the past 20 years have proved that. And I think P'doh Mahn Sha's political paper written right after the 1988 democracy uprising shaped the KNU policy. He mentioned the paper in his writing titled "Bogyoke Mya Tho-ma-hoke Taw-lan-yay Mone-dine A'tiwn Mha Thit-pin Ta-pin" (Gen. Mya or A Tree in the Storm of Revolution". The writing appeared in Khitpyaing Journal publised in January, 2007. And also see "The Spirit of Manerplaw" by Aung Moe Zaw of the DPNS (http://www.irrawaddy.org/opinion_story.php?art_id=15957).

Opinion Wrote:
20/10/2010
@ BWA NYUNT,
Not expecting much from the KNLA is your problem. We didn't mean that only the KNU could bring democracy to Burma but it would come from all ethnic groups and opposition parties including the KNU. If the KNU was not strong enough or gave up easily, the world wouldn't know about the longest struggle in this world. If the KNU had given up, all the Karen people and other ethnics groups would have disappeared already.

Remember that the KNU stands for Democracy in Burma together with all other ethnic groups and opposition. These people need democracy, self-determination and the rights.

Think win win Mr. BWA NYUNT

kw Wrote:
20/10/2010
I sometime wonder why many Burman who said they are open minded never think of the cause of ethnics. They are very selfish if they see the ethnic groups become stronger. If such kinds of people remain in Burma, there will never be peace

BWA NYUNT Wrote:
20/10/2010
I dont expect much from the KNLA. They like colonial rulers and fought aimlessly for their own cause.
Hi, all Burmese, do you think you can get democracy in Burma with this KNU? We suffered enough with the KNU when I was young. Now they're at the border, a last resort for selfish Karen leaders.

Free Man Wrote:
19/10/2010
I, for one, take my hat off to the KNLA soldiers, at least for their toughness, bravery and perseverence.

George Than Setkyar Heine Wrote:
19/10/2010
Just plain RECKLESSNESS to say the truth!
They would get DECIMATED only without any positive outcome for their cause.
Dying would not SOLVE matters and dead MARTYRS NONE as well in this case other than lying in their graves.
Karen are simple folk and brave people, no doubt.
BRAVERY only would not get things DONE as well.
And toiling for more than 60 years without any possible sign in that direction should give them some hint of the fact as well.
That should be a lesson for all ethnic armed groups raring to DIE for their cause no less.
DISCRETION is the better part of VALOR, as I learned long ago, and this should shed some light in this dark tunnel they are traveling today.
Staying alive today to fight another day should be their MOTTO and BELIEF, in place of banging their heads against the wall.
And the best bet for the KNLA and others today should be building solidarity, understanding, cooperation, coordination etc. with all brethren, mainly the Daw Suu- led NLD.

Jeffrey Htoo Wrote:
19/10/2010
The Karen Foreign Legion, led by General Thomas James Bleming, of Lusk, Wyoming, trained them.

timothy Wrote:
19/10/2010
Bravo to all my brothers. You are doing justice for your people. You got people on your side and it is the greatest weapon any troops in the world can have. Finish the fascist forces of Myanmar. You will be conquerors in this just war.

myatnoe Wrote:
19/10/2010
Hope no war breaks out. May God be with the KNLA troops. Waiting for their safe and sound return back home.

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