Tuesday, February 22, 2011

KIO, preparing for war, urges people to join militia

Tuesday, 22 February 2011 12:50 Phanida

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Young people, adults and ex-servicemen were asked to serve in the Kachin People’s Militia during a meeting of the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) on Monday.

A lone Kachin soldier stands guard. Since October last
year, Burma has been moving toward a state of civil war,
with fighting between the regime and armed ethnic
rebels increasing. The Kachin Independence Organisation,
after 16 years of peace in northern Burma, is now on the
verge of a war they can not win, but say they must fight
because the regime offers them no other choice.
(Photo : Mizzima)
At the KIO’s headquarters in Laiza, more than 1,300 troops attended a morning meeting and at noon, more than 1,400 Kachin, including adult local residents and young people, met.

Lieutenant General Gam Shawng Gunhtang, the chief of staff of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the armed wing of KIO, told the gathering ‘the KIO will launch offensives against the junta and all Kachin people need to participate in the revolution’, according  a KIA officer.

Currently, the KIO has 15 battalions. The people’s militia would not be deployed in combat, but would be organised to provide logistical support  to the troops, according to a KIA officer.

The general urged volunteers to serve in the militia for as long as hostilities with the central regime appear to be imminent.

KIA militia groups in Kachin State and northern Shan total about 7,000 people, observers say.

The KIO was formed in 1961 to fight for racial equality and self determination for the Kachin people. It began organising people’s militia groups in 2009.

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