Johnny Htoo working with KNU

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While perusing the news from home at I noticed in the article about a possible summit between armed groups that leading the talks was a member of the Arakan Liberation Party(ALP) and a member of the Karen National Union(KNU) called Pado Saw Kwe Htoo Win. I thought the name Htoo Win was familiar, Luther and Johnny Htoo were the young twins who led Gods Army an armed group of up to 200 members whose followers believed were bullet proof but isn't anybody who fought at the head of an armed ethnic group in Myanmar. To many they were a novelty but their army was relatively short lived and most members were probably absorbed into the KNU which is what happened to Johnny when he was a few years older while brother Luther went to Sweden. This article in the New York Times shows them at a reunion in Thailand in 2013.

Briefly, Myanmar’s ‘God’s Army’ Twins Reunite

SANGKHLABURI, Thailand — As children, the twins Johnny and Luther Htoo were bulletproof and invulnerable to land mines — or so went the story that briefly made them famous as hundreds of guerrillas followed and even worshiped them in the jungles of southeasternMyanmar. Today, more than a decade later, their “God’s Army” is no more, and the twins’ greatest accomplishment may be that both are still alive.

Luther lives in Sweden. Johnny remains at an unofficial refugee camp in Thailand, not far from where the brothers were sent after they surrendered to Thai authorities in 2001. Now 25, Johnny hopes to reunite with relatives in New Zealand, and Luther worries about their former comrades.
Members of their Karen ethnic group have long sought autonomy in Myanmar, formerly Burma, but they have laid down their arms since a military dictatorship gave way to a nominally civilian government in 2011. Last month, during his first trip back to Thailand since leaving for Sweden in 2009, Luther said he would fight only if his people were hurt again.

“It’s not fun to fight anymore, now that I’m afraid to die,” Luther said. “No one wants to fight unless they have to, you know.”
The legend of the twins began to form in 1997, when Burmese troops entered their village during a sweep of Karen territory. At the time, the rebel Karen National Union was in decline.
“We had to defend ourselves because we didn’t like anyone to hurt us,” Luther said. “We love our motherland, so we chose to fight. We got seven rifles from the K.N.U. and there were seven of us. We used them to fight against the Burmese Army. We prayed before we fought, and then we won.”

They called themselves God’s Army. The boys were rambunctious, but strict discipline and a rigorous Christian routine were maintained. There was no liquor in their village, and church services were held at least once a day.
Journalists who traveled to the small village, Ka Mar Pa Law, saw the twins living what looked like a child’s pirate fantasy, shooting tropical fruit off the trees and being worshiped by adult followers who carried them around on their shoulders.

Probably the most famous image of the twins was taken by an Associated Press photographer, Apichart Weerawong, when they were 12. It shows Luther with shaved forelocks and raised brows, puffing on a cigarette. Johnny stands behind his brother with a sad, soulful gaze.