God’s Army

A Christian revolutionary group in Myanmar led by young twins, known for its opposition to the military junta.

God’s Army was a Christian armed revolutionary group that emerged in Myanmar (Burma) as an offshoot of the Karen National Union. The group, active between 1997 and 2006, was led by young twin brothers Johnny and Luther Htoo. It was based along the Thailand-Myanmar border and engaged in guerilla warfare against the Burmese military government. God’s Army was notable for its members’ belief in the mystical powers of the Htoo twins, who were seen as divinely inspired leaders capable of miraculous feats. The group’s formation was in response to the oppression of the Karen people by the Burmese military, which included acts of violence and attempts to suppress ethnic autonomy.

God’s Army maintained strict moral codes, including abstaining from sexual intercourse, alcohol, milk, eggs, and pork. At its peak, the group had approximately 500 fighters but saw a decline in numbers due to various factors, including military pressure and personal reasons for leaving. The group gained international attention for several high-profile actions, such as the alleged involvement in the 1999 siege of the Myanmar embassy in Bangkok and the 2000 seizure of a hospital in Ratchaburi, Thailand, where they held hundreds hostage.

The end of God’s Army came with the surrender of the Htoo twins and the remaining members to Thai authorities in 2001, followed by Johnny Htoo’s surrender to the Burmese military government in 2006. The group’s disbandment marked the end of one of the most unique chapters in the history of Myanmar’s ethnic insurgencies​​.

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