Wednesday, March 2, 2011

KIO says junta threatening to launch offensive

Wednesday, 02 March 2011 18:31 Phanida

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Lieutenant Colonel Thet Pone of the Burmese regime’s Northern Military Command Military Affairs Security (MAS) unit has repeatedly threatened the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO), saying the junta would launch military offensive against the KIO, say KIO officials.

A file photograph of Kachin Independence Army troops.
KIA soldiers are on alert after threats of a military
offensive by a junta officer. Photo : Mizzima
Lieutenant Colonel Thet Pone and Colonel Ji Nawng, who is in charge of the KIO liaison office in Myitkyina, met at the MAS unit office in Myitkyina on February 28.

Recently, 10 remote-controlled mines, made of TNT gunpowder, were discovered outside the customs office in Loi Je Township in Bhamo District in Kachin State.

A KIO officer said Lieutenant Colonel Thet Pone charged that the mines were planted by KIO Brigade 3 of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the armed wing of the KIO.

‘Lieutenant Colonel Thet Pone repeatedly said that if the KIO continued to commit hostile acts, the government would use military force and attack us. He said the mines were made by the KIO and the KIO was challenging the government’, said the officer.

After the meeting, the KIO held a meeting of the central committee on Tuesday and Wednesday at the KIO headquarters in Laiza, according to sources at the headquarters. The results of the meeting were not available.

A KIO officer said that although the mines were found in the area controlled by Brigade 3, they were not planted by the KIA and the accusation was a plot created by the junta.

‘The mines are not ours’, said the officer. We know nothing about it. That is a lie created to destroy our reputation’.

He said Thet Pone showed photographs of the mines and other related material during the meeting and claimed the mines were similar to others used by the KIA.

Thet Pone also cited an incident on February 7 in which KIA Battalion 17 fired on junta troops in Mansi Township in Kachin State.

Meanwhile, on February 17, 12 ethnic armed groups including the KIO formed the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) to cooperate in defending against any attack by junta troops against the ethnic groups

The joint defence agreement has made the junta uneasy, the KIO officer said.

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