Tue 19 Dec 2006
Filed under: Inside Burma,News
Shwe Kokko village, Karen State: High ranking military and police officials attended for the first time on Tuesday Karen New Year celebrations organized in territory controlled by the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army’s battalion 999.
The DKBA signed a ceasefire with the regime after breaking away from the Karen National Union in 1995. One year later, construction began of the village of Shwe Kokko, near the border town of Myawaddy, where Tuesday’s celebrations were held.
About 5,000 people attended, including the police chief of Myawaddy and the commander of the Burmese army’s 22nd Division. Two well-known Karen doctors, Dr Simon Thar and Dr Paw Paw, who attended to the KNU leader, Gen Bo Mya, in July 2006, were also present.
In a speech to the crowd, the commander of the DKBA battalion 999, Col Chit Thu, urged the Karen people to unite and continue their â€œunfinished duty.â€ The course to follow was clear, he said.
â€œWe hold the arms in our hand are not mean to kill good people,â€ he said. â€œBut it is clear which way they [Karen people] have to go in the future.â€
Several foreigners attended the celebrations. Burmese personalities who turned up included film actor Wai Lu Kyaw, pop singers R Zani and Sone Thin Par.
The Karen New Year-2746 in the Karen calendar-was also being celebrated on Tuesday in KNU-controlled areas, in the Karen State capital, Pa-an, in border refugee camps and in Karen communities around the world.