1 July 2023, in an interview with the Transborder News, General Bee Htoo, Minister of Defense, Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), talked about how the KNPP force is joining with the Karenni Nationalities People’s Liberation Front (KNPLF), the Karenni National Solidarity Organization (KNSO) and the People’s Defence Force (PDF) in an offensive operation to oust the Myanmar military from southern Karenni State and revealed how the Karenni were actually not the first to launch such campaign. Previously, the Myanmar forces have launched attacks and have been burning down houses of civilians in the Karenni State. They have abused our people first. In response to that, the Karenni have to come out to defend the people.
According to General Bee Htoo, the affected villagers have fled to live in Thailand temporarily. Once the situation at home is peaceful, they will certainly return there. If the Myanmar Army does not cease its attacks, peace will not be promptly restored. Nonetheless, a large number of people are trapped inside Myanmar and the Karenni military has sent them immediate help.
“What happens now is not an armed conflict between the two militaries. Rather, it is a common problem that has to be tackled by people in the country. It is a common mission for all Karenni” said General Bee Htoo.
The KNPP Commander further states that this fight is likely to enable the Karenni to gain their right to self-determination. Until now, every decision has been made at the behest of the Myanmar regime. While the Myanmar Army has been deploying more forces in southern Karenni State, the KNPP has also dispatched more forces there at various spots. At present, the efficiency of the Myanmar military has greatly declined since it has failed to recruit and mobilize more people to join them. As a result, they have to force ethnic civilians to serve as their solders.
Meanwhile, the KNPLF has issued a statement which essentially states that “The oppressed peoples from all ethnicities, our comrades from the highland and lowland and those who stand united to fight off the terrorist Myanmar Army, we, the KNPLF forces or Kalalata have launched our offensive campaign against the despotic Myanmar military. We want to formally declare that we are located in the Karenni State on the east side of the Salween River (BP 14) at Mesa. A new page of history is being formally turned. It is marked with the raid on a Myanmar Army base on 13 June, in collaboration with various forces. Our ultimate goal is to quash the despotic Myanmar regime and the Constitution 2008. Meanwhile, it is important to create a mutual understanding among the revolutionary organizations in the highland and the lowland and to foster our unity and determination, spiritually and physically. We fervently believe that if all the revolutionary forces stand united and work together, we shall advance our operation rapidly and concretely.
“The military regime and the Constitution 2008 have destroyed the democracy we all yearn. To ensure we can restore a genuine Federal Democratic Union, we need to ensure equality among all and the right to self-determination among our people. Our organization has been founded since 1978 by the Karenni National Progress Party (KNPP). Given the different opinions among us, we have decided to break away and found our own KNPLF forces and remain independent until now”.
“Our organization has adhered to the ceasefire agreement for nearly 30 years. Part of our forces have been turned into the Border Guard Forces (BGF). On the past 13 June, we have turned a new page of our history. We have achieved one of the greatest successes as an anti-Myanmar-dictators-force. It marks a turning point for a historic and honorable organization. We have showed our stand and adhere to our policy. We respond to our spiritual calling which is that we shall serve the people. We want to assure you again, seriously, that we shall restore the interest of the oppressed peoples from all the ethnicities. We are ready to engage closely with the National Unity Government (NUG) and together we shall embark on our revolutionary journey together,” said the statement.
The KNPLF’s statement marks the first time it has unveiled itself to the public. Until now, the KNPLF leaderships tend to stay low profile and were unknown among many Karennis.
While clashes in the Karenni State have been going on, the Myanmar Army has launched aerial attacks which have resulted in four deaths. In the Presert Pradit Facebook Page by the Chair of the Mae Hong Son Cultural Council, a message was posted that on 1 July 2023, we would like to thank sisters and brothers from Huay Due. Today, you have brought your donations to help people who have to suffer from fleeing the war and to stay at a border shelter in Ban Nam Phiang Din, Muang District, Mae Hong Son, about 200 of them. Their villages in the Karenni State are a part of our cultural network including Ban Mai Salween (Ywathit), Ban Pla, and Ban Ho Hta where four villagers have been killed during the Myanmar Army’s aerial attacks. Three people died in the previous campaign. The people of Huay Due have shown their generosity toward our sisters and brothers in our neighboring country and have sent here three truckloads of goods and supplies. The refugees cannot return to their homes now due to the ongoing and daily bombardments. As they cannot defeat our solders, they shifted target to destroy civilians as the Myanmar military has typically been doing.
This is a translation of original Thai article https://transbordernews.in.th/home/?p=34442