Myanmar’s oldest rebel group ‘The Karen National Union (KNU)’

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Myanmar’s oldest rebel group ‘The Karen National Union (KNU)’

Recently, the Karen National Union (KNU), the oldest rebel group in Myanmar, has said that its fighters have taken over an army camp on the west bank of the Salween River.


  • It may be noted that some time ago, the army had coup against the government. Since then, there have been agitations against the coup in Myanmar.
  • More than 500 people have been killed and thousands detained since the coup.
  • Against this action of the army, the rebel groups said that if the army did not stop this bloodshed, then they will respond to the army along with the protesting people.
  • A statement was also issued by the Taang National Liberation Army, the Myanmar Nationality Democratic Alliance Army and the Arakan Army (AA), among the various ethnic groups in Myanmar to retaliate against the military.
  • In the same sequence, an ethnic minority “Karen rebels” have attacked a Myanmar army outpost and captured a military post close to the border of northwestern Thailand.
  • Since then, the Myanmar army has launched an airstrike on a village and a marginal settlement near the Thailand border.

History of Karen Rebel and Karen National Union (KNU)

  • The Karens are an ethnic minority community in Myanmar, who live in the state of Karen or Kayin, located near the border of Thailand. They are one of the oldest rebel groups in Myanmar. The civil war against the government by them is one of the longest running civil wars in the world.
  • It has been fighting with the government for the creation of an independent state of “Kawthoolei” from the year 1949, which continued for almost 70 years.
  • Due to this conflict, more than two lakh people have fled to Thailand from Myanmar, where they are housed in refugee camps.
  • They had formed a political organization to demand this independent state, which is known as ‘Karen National Union’ (KNU).
  • Karen’s goal is to gain the right to self-determination in the states where the Karen community is majority.
  • The Karen community has a population of between five and seven million people. More than 20 dialects are spoken by the Karen community. Of these, “Pwo” and “Sgaw” are the most widely spoken.

Current scenario in Myanmar

  • On 1 February 2021, the Myanmar army established control of the country by military coup and the ruling National League for Democracy Party and State Councilor Aung San SuuKyi were arrested and arrested here. The army is currently ruled, and its current leader is General Min Aung Hlaing.
  • Recently, ASEAN leaders held a conference on the restoration of peace in Myanmar, and they have agreed on a five-point agreement with the military leader of Myanmar. India has welcomed ASEAN’s initiative on Myanmar.

Source – The Hindu

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