Interesting to note a recent report on the Karen Times website suggesting that further conflict could emerge between the Kyaw Htet led DKBA and the DKBA/KKO.
While such conflict is unlikely to be news, neither the DKBA/KKO, KNLA or BGF have shown much love for Kyaw Htet (see Conflict Over Highway Taxation in Kayin State) the fact that the newly formed Kyaw Htet DKBA has somehow sworn allegiance to the original patriarch, U Thuzana, of the first DKBA splinter group is an interesting twist.
According to the report, Saw Three Htoo, a former DKBA/KKO Major and now a member of the Kyaw Htet faction, said that conflict began after Major Thura, a leader of another DKBA faction, presumably the DKBA/KKO, began to disobey orders from his senior and brigade Commander Major General Pah Bi (sometimes spelt Po Bi) and was arrested on 1 April 2016.
Major General Pah Bi, then a Lt. Col., was head of Karen BGF 1012 until they defected to the DKBA units led by the late Saw Lah Pwe who had refused to join the BGF plan. Pah Bi kicked out his Myanmar military advisors, on 24 May 2011, and ordered his 500 troops to join the DKBA. After this he took up positions around Mae Tha Waw the area where the Karen Times report states that ‘Major Thura was appointed and assigned special duty by the influential monk Oo Thuzana to man the border gate and be in charge of the monastery in Mae Ta Wor. . without the knowledge and approval of Major General Pah Bi early this year. Thereafter conflict began when Major Thura said that he would no longer take and obey orders from DKBA or KNU, and considered Oo Thuzana as his only true leader who he will obey in the future.’
Major Thura has not been released and his whereabouts are still unknown according to the report.
The re-emergence of U Thuzana who has kept a relatively low profile over the last few years and the fact that, according to the report, the Kyaw Thet DKBA is supported by U Thuzana should be a major concern. Once again taxation of the local people to support individual armed groups, and possibly the building of more monasteries (although that remains to be seen!), once again appears to be the order of the day.