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Karen rebels

Topics Covered: India and neighbours.

Karen rebels:


Context:

Myanmar’s military has launched air strikes on a village and outpost near the Thai border, after ethnic minority Karen insurgents attacked a Myanmar army post in some of the worst clashes since a Feb. 1 coup.

  • The Karen National Union (KNU), Myanmar’s oldest rebel group, has also said its fighters had taken the army camp on the west bank of the Salween river.

Who are the KNU?

  • The KNU is the dominant political organisation representing ethnic minority Karen communities in Karen, or Kayin, State, bordering Thailand.
  • Its aim is self-determination for the Karen people in a region of about 1.6 million people, roughly the size of Belgium, where they are the ethnic majority in the state.

What is the Karen Conflict?

Marginalised in then Burma’s post-independence political process, the KNU started a rebellion in 1949, which it waged for nearly 70 years. One of its key grievances was the majority Bamar community’s dominance of Myanmar’s state and military.

  • The conflict has been described as one of the world’s “longest running civil wars”.

What’s the demand?

Karen nationalists have been fighting for an independent state known as Kawthoolei since 1949.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who are Karens?
  2. What is the conflict all about?
  3. What is Kawthoolei?

Sources: the Hindu.