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Democratic Karen Benevolent Army

ဒီမိုကရေစီ အကျိုးပြု ကရင်တပ်မတော်

Armed Wing: Klo Htoo Baw Battalion
Political Wing: Klo Htoo Baw

ethnic armed org logo NCCT member

dkba-5 flag


Founded: November 8th, 2010
Headquarters: Myawaddy, Kayin State.

HQ guard Battalions: 904, 906, 908

Active Regions: Kayin State – Hlaingbwe, Kya-in Seikkyi, Three Pagodas Pass, Kawkareik, Myawaddy.
Size: Over 1,500
Battalion: 9

Led by Gen Saw Moo Shay, the DKBA Brigade 5 is a breakaway faction of the original Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (now a BGF) and renamed itself the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army. During the 2010 elections, DKBA (Brigade 5) attacked government troops and security forces in Myawaddy, Karen state. DKBA changed the name of Buddhist army to
Benevolent army on 4 April 2012. Armed wing: Klo Htoo Baw Battalion
Political Wing: Klo Htoo Baw
Other Names: Karen Klo-Htoo-Baw Organisation
Gov Name: Kalo Htoo Baw armed group
(Former Democratic Karen Buddhist Army –
Brigade 5)

The Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA) signed a ceasefire at the state and union levels in November and December 2011. The group signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) on October 15, 2015 under U Thein Sein administration.

Although the DKBA participated in the peace process along with other ethnic armed groups under the NCA, clashes occurred in Hlaingbwe Township with the Border Guard Force (BGF), which is under the control of the Tatmadaw (military). In addition, on January 6th, 2018, clashes occurred between the DKBA and the Karen National Union (KNU).

The DKBA has not yet succeeded in establishing a military region. Fighting continues in the region, displacing thousands of people. The group adheres to the NCA path in terms of its position on peace and its goals.

Ceasefire & Peace Process

3rd resistance group to sign ceasefire with government
Stage 1: State level ceasefire 3 Nov 2011
Stage 2: Union level ceasefire 11 Dec 2011
Stage 3: NCA Signed – 15 Oct 2015

Post-ceasefire Clashes:
2012: 1, 2013: 4, 2014: 13, 2015: 40+
2016: N/A


Commander in Chief: Lt. Gen Saw Steel
Deputy C-in-C: Lt. Gen Saw Steel
Adjacent General: Phu Mu Khoe
Chief of Staff: Lt. Col Saw Sein Win
Lt. Col Saw Tun Tun (military operation)
Lt. Col Saw Sein Win (adjacent)
Col. Saw Mu Ko Paw (support)
Col. Saw Shwe Wah (Security Strategic Commander)

Military column 1: Btl 907, 909, 910
Brig. Gen. Saw Sein Myint
Strategic Commander Col. Saw Kyar Ni

Military column 2: Btl 901, 902, 903
Brig. Gen. Saw Ta Khu
Strategic commander Col. Saw Ba Nyein

Official delegation team: N/A


Liaison offices :

  • Hpa-an city (Nov 2011)
  • Myawaddy (Nov 2011)
  • Kyar-In-Seik-Gyi, Kyaikdon,
  • Three Pagoda Pass, Myain
  • Gyinngu (pending)



 # Date Location Armed Group Rep Govt Rep Details
126/10/2011Mottama, Thaton District, Mon stateBrigadier General Moo ShayThein ZawPreliminary meeting
Maung Maung Thein, commander of the Southeast Regional Military Command and chief ministers of Karen and Mon states were also present
203/11/2011Hpa-an, Karen stateBrigadier General Moo ShayCol Aung Lwin Minister for Security and Border Affairs of Kayin stateState level meeting, 5 point ceasefire agreement signed, both sides represented by 4 member delegation
311/12/2011Hpa-an, Karen stateSaw Lah Pwe, 6 member delegationAung Thaung, 7 member delegationSigned Union level peace agreement
422/01/2013Myawaddy, Karen stateSaw Lah Pwe, 8 member delegationAung Min, Gen Maung Maung Ohn + 9 othersAgreement on 3 points: demarcation of control areas, open liaison offices, provide assistance to DKBA
504/05/2013Kayin State government office in HpaanMaj. Maung LayKayin State Security and Border Affairs Minister Aung LwinTo discuss recent fighting between the DKBA-5 and local BGF, however the issue was not resolved satisfactorily,and DKBA representative Maj. Maung Lay went to Naypyitaw to discuss matters with the central government official.
606/05/2013NaypyidawMaj. Maung LayAung MinDiscuss fighting in Myaing Gyi Ngu. ways to how to avoid conflict in the future. The Minister [Aung Min] said he will present the results of our discussion to his superiors. If it is approved, he will come to Kayin [Karen] State as soon as possible to discuss matters with the Kayin State government, the BGF and ourselves. I think it will take a maximum of one week to solve the problem.” DKBA said it wanted to maintain the ceasefire agreement, and suggested that a liaison group be formed to mediate between the DKBA and other ceasefire groups.
711/05/2013Sonesee Myaing in Myawaddy township, Karen stateGen. Saw Lah Pwe, Gen. Moe Shay, Brig. Gen. Kyaw Thet, Brig. Gen. Kyaw Beh from DKBADr. Min Zaw Oo and U Aung Naing Oo from MPCDr. Zaw Oo and U Aung Naing Oo discussed with DKBA leaders. Then they also discussed with representatives from BGF. they collected the information resulted from the discussion and reported it to U Aung Min. the aim of this meeting is to solve the conflict between DKBA and BGF.
809/02/2014YangonDKBA- Gen Saw Lar BweAung MainGoodwill
901/04/2014Karen State EntranceDKBA – Col Saw Sann AungKaren State Government and Police Forces/ Zaw Minn ministerInformal meeting



  1. Temporary settlement of Kalo Htoo Baw armed group at the environs of Sonesee-myaing
  2. Cooperate with the government in regional development, and improvement of socio-economic status in Sukali region under existing laws, based temporarily in Sonesee Myaing region
  3. Settlement of members of Kalo Htoo Baw group and their families
  4. Fight against narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
    declared Myawaddy district as a drug-free zone on May 20, 2012
  5. DKBA and Local government open the village bridge in kawkarik township (May 24)


Feb. 19, 2012:A joint force of Myanmar army and border guard force (BGF) troops raided a DKBA military base. They allegedly seized a cache of weapons including AK-47s, AR-15 rifles and RPGs belonging to DKBA. (DKBA: 3 killed, 2 injured)


Dec 22, 2018 – DKBA released a statement regarding Tatmadaw’s statement

Oct 31, 2018 – DKBA released a statement regarding 30th Anniversary of ABSDF

Aug 01, 2017 – DKBA released a statement regarding Saw Nyi Nyi

Feb 04, 2017 – DKBA released a special statement

Aug 17, 2015 – KNU, DKBA, KNU/KNLA Peace Council, and RCSS released a joint statement on signing the NCA

Nov 2, 2014 – DKBA released a statement on KAF formation

Oct 30, 2014 – KAF formation statement released after the meeting

Oct 21, 2014 – DKBA discharged Lt. Col. Saw San Aung

Oct 13, 2014 – KAF Agreement in Burmese

Oct 13, 2014 – KAF Statement in Burmese

Oct 13, 2014 – KAF Statement in English

Feb 23, 2012 – DKBA threatened to void its cease-fire agreement with the government unless its arms are returned by the BGF that was responsible for the weapons seizure on Feb. 12, 2012.

Dec 27, 2012 – DKBA spokesperson Maj. San Aung said there will be no peace unless the military stops launching offensiveattacks against KIO.

Dec 15, 2012 – DKBA staged a protest in Myawaddy while bearing arms call on the government to apologize for their actions against Buddhist monks during the Letpandaung crackdown and to stop the offensive in Kachin state.

Jan 4, 2013 – DKBA issue a statement condemning government offensives in Kachin and northern Shan states (1) All ethnic people in Myanmar are our relation, the current government attacks to KIA, as like attach to us. We strongly object the launch an offensive to KIA. (2) Due to launch an offensive on KIA, we DKBA, and other Organizations and all civil have reduced trust on Government. if government continues to attack the KIA, Government will lose all recent ceasefire agreements.


The DKBA is working towards establishing closer relationships with the KNU and the KNU/KNLA Peace Council. The Karen groups met on March 6, 2012 to discuss rebuilding trust to strengthen the struggle for the Karen cause in accordance with the principles of Karen Martyr and revolutionary leader Saw Ba Oo Gyi.

** Updated on Jan 30, 2021

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Myanmar Peace Monitor