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Karen rebels of Myanmar

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    World Affairs
  • Published
    1st May, 2021


As per the Thai authorities, Myanmar's military 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 February 1 coup.

Who are the Karen National Union (KNU)?

  • The KNU is the dominant political organization 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.
  • Marginalized 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.

Bamar Community

  • The majority of the Burmese population belongs to the Bamar ethnic group (also known as Burman or Myanmar people).
  • Traditionally Buddhist, the Bamar live primarily in the Irrawaddy River basin and speak the Burmese language.
    • Burmese language is the sole official language of Myanmar at a national level.