Christian Freedom International Mourns the Death of Karen Leader Saw Ba Thin Sein
SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich., May 23 /Christian Newswire/ -- Christian Freedom International (CFI), a humanitarian organization that assists persecuted Christians worldwide, expresses deep condolences over the death of Saw Ba Thin Sein, chairman of the Karen National Union (KNU) in Burma.
The KNU, an ethnic rebel group that has been fighting for the Karen's autonomy in Burma since 1948, lost its leader in the early morning hours of Thursday, May 22, 2008, in the Pa-an District of southern Karen State. Saw Ba Thin Sein, who joined the KNU in 1949 and became chairman in 2000, suffered from diabetes, asthma, and heart disease. He was 82 years old.
Throughout the chairman's service, he stressed the need for unity among the Karen people, particularly after the division that led to the formation of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army, a KNU-breakaway group that ultimately aligned itself with the ruling military junta. Although he did not live to see the Karen's liberation, he will be remembered for his brave leadership and unwavering dedication to the Karen's 50-year-old struggle for independence. "[He] was a friend to me for the past ten years...he will be missed," says CFI president Jim Jacobson, who has personally delivered relief aid to persecuted Karen Christians in Burma since 1998.
The loss is also a hard-hitting one for thousands of Karen people in Burma, whose ongoing struggle for survival continues in the recent aftermath of Cyclone Nargis, and the junta's denial of desperately needed relief aid into Karen-populated areas. According to a statement issued from KNU headquarters on Thursday, Tamla Baw, vice-chairman of the KNU and former chief commander of the Karen National Liberation Army, will succeed Saw Ba Thin Sein.
The chairman is survived by his wife and four children.
For more information, contact Christian Freedom International at 800-323-2273 or visit online: www.christianfreedom.org.