Wed 24 Oct 2012
Filed under: Inside Burma,News
Karen community organizations and religious leaders have called for the Karen National Union (KNU) to resolve its leadership conflict, to unite and to continue ongoing peace talks with the Burmese government.
Representatives of Karen social organizations and others met in Mawlamyine, the capital of Mon State, on Oct. 3 to discuss the leadership dispute and how to resolve the issue, according to an article on the Karen News website on Wednesday.
“We want the KNU to unite and to resolve its conflict as soon as possible. We don’t want a [leadership] split. If there is any disagreement between them, the best way is for them to meet, talk and resolve the problem,” said a person who attended the meeting and asked not to be named.
A statement urged the KNU leaders not to destroy the peace process.
“If there are different viewpoints and if any disagreement arises on any issue, the solution can be reach, if negotiations are held,” said the source.
The internal conflict within the KNU leadership came to light in recent months when Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) head Gen. Mutu Say Poe opened a government liaison office without the approval of the KNU leadership.
As a consequence, the KNU dismissed Gen. Mutu Say Poe and the secretary of the peace committee, the late Padoh Saw David Thaw, and Padoh Saw Roger Khin.
The dismissals exposed a division in the Karen military and political leadership over how much and how fast to cooperate with the government in peace negotiations.
KNU sources said that Mutu Say Poe and his group had ignored several meetings called by the central committee, which is led by General-Secretary Zipporah Sein.
A Karen military source said that Mutu Say Poe may have as many as 10,000 troops who would support him.
Reports suggested that a split within the Karen leadership ranks could result in a northern faction led by Baw Kyaw Heh and a southern faction commanded by Mutu Say Poe.