Myanmar/Burmese KNLA Insurgent Army patch

KNLA-patch LR
Myanmar / Burma: Printed shoulder patch of the Karen National Liberation Army.

One of my collecting interests are the insignia worn by various insurgent groups and guerilla armies. Burma/Myanmar is a country of particular interest to me, so I was quite excited to obtain this printed Karen National Liberation Army patch recently. This printed patch appears to be one of several different variations that are used by the KNLA.

General Baw Kyaw Heh, Vice Chief-of-Staff of the Karen National Liberation Army wearing a variation of the KNLA shoulder patch.

The Karen National Liberation Army (Burmese: ကရင်အမျိုးသား လွတ်မြောက်ရေး တပ်မတော်; abbreviated KNLA) is the military branch of the Karen National Union (KNU), which had been fighting the Burmese/Myanmar Government for the self-determination of the Karen people since 1949 until signing a ceasefire agreement with the government in January 2012.

An officer of the KNLA in dress uniform displaying another variation of the KNLA shoulder patch.

The KNLA was reported to have had a strength of roughly 6,000 soldiers in 2012 and according to the Karen National Union website,

‘The KNLA has seven brigades and three headquarters battalions. Brigades are comprised of up to five battalions, each of which has four companies, each of which in turn has three platoons. The KNLA also has 3 main branches, General Staff Office, Adjutant General Office, and Quartermaster Office.

The mission of the KNLA from its foundation through to the present day is solely as a self-defense force for the Karen people and the organisation, since without such a defense force the Karen would likely be eradicated. The KNLA has no aspirations other than to safeguard and guarantee the safety of the Karen people and to support the organisation in their stand for political dialogue. Karen self-defense requirements include countering Burma Army aggression; to ban narcotics; to provide village security; and to provide security for humanitarian relief missions.’   (

KNLA soldier wearing an embroidered variation of the shoulder patch.


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