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Forgotten Guerrilla

Photo Report from Wei Gyi in Karen state of Burma   

by Yu-Kyung Lee, 16 November 2009

“I’ve lost 12 friends of mine during Saffran revolution in 2007. Now I’ve been here for a real revolution” - A new cadre of All Burma Student Democratic Front (or ABSDF) 

All Burma Student Democratic Front (or ABSDF) is an armed insurgency group, which has been fighting against the Burma’s military rulers since 1988. It was founded in November 1st in 1988, as a product of the popular 88 uprising in Burma. Back then, not only students but also various walks of lives, who had fled the country to a jungle, have joined the uniquely named ‘student insurgency’ group. However, it had had to undergo factional division in early 90s, which is said to be a common phenomenon among Burmese movement. The two factions were later on united after the fall of Manerplaw in 1996, which was considered as a significant loss for ABSDF let alone for the Karen National Liberation Army (or KNLA).  

ABSDF apparently has been decaying out for the past decade. The Bush’s doctrine of ‘War on terror’, global abhorrence on armed struggle and ‘non violence’ dominating NGOs trend in Burmese movement along with its own shortcomings all have affected the student armed group to put them at a loss. Accordingly, it’s slowly become a “forgotten guerrilla”.

ABSDF has headquarted in Wei Gyi at the bank of Salween River in Karen state. It also has positioned some parts of Papun district in Northern Karen state and elsewhere in Burma. Despite its weakness, ABSDF has welcomed new recruits, who have joined in it after the monks-led Saffran revolution in 2007. Some dozens of new arrivals have taken military training in early 2008 according to ABSDF. The forgotten guerrilla has now looked forward to having new generation to challenge forced recruits touted-Burmese army.          

ABSDF cadres in Wei Gyi headquarter.
photo: Yu-Kyung Lee

ABSDF cadres in Wei Gyi headquarter.

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