Thursday, November 10, 2011

Kachin people’s militia and Upper House MP collect people’s views

Thursday, 10 November 2011 15:33 Phanida

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Kachin militia leader La Sang Aung Wa and Upper House MP Za Khon Tein Ring on Wednesday held a meeting to collect people’s views on the fighting between the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) and Burmese government troops.

To put the KIO under pressure, pro-government and former KIO leaders held the five-hour meeting at YMCA Hall in Myothit Ward in Myitkyina, sources said. Za Khon Tein Ring is an Upper House MP.

More than 40 people including Kachin community leaders, Christian leaders and NGO officials attended the meeting.

Kachin militia leader La Sang Aung Wa. Photo: KNG

“It seemed that [the government] wanted to propose a resolution if the Kachin people agreed with them. But, we want peace. We replied that we wanted a genuine cease-fire and a political dialogue. So an agreement was not reached in the meeting,” said a Kachin pastor.

Some speakers said the government launched a military offensive, because the KIO attacked government troops first. Others said that was one-sided. Some speakers noted that the central government had deployed more troops in Kachin State, which threatened the KIO.

The former New Democratic Army – Kachin (NDAK) transformed itself into a Border Guard Force (BGF) under the command of the government’s Ministry of Defence.
The BGF group is based in Panwa on the Sino-Burmese border. The NDAK broke away from the KIA and signed cease-fire with the former junta in 2003.

A former officer KIA officer in charge of Intelligence and the National Security Department, La Sang Aung Wa’s group transformed itself into La Sang Aung Wa’s people’s militia and the Gwayhtu people’s militant in October 2009.

A priest said that La Sang Aung Wa and Za Khon Tein Ring did not represent the Kachin people, and he urged people not to attend the meeting, sources said.

On October 20, the KIO issued a statement saying the Burmese government uses the Kachin people’s militia in fighting against the KIO. On October 28 in Myitkyina, nine people’s militia groups distributed letters urging the KIO to seek a cease-fire. The letters were also distributed in the Wednesday meeting.

At least 2,000 war refugees from villages along the Myitkyina-Bhamo Road in Kachin State have taken refuge in religious buildings in Myitkyina. During the past two weeks, more war refugees have arrived in Myitkyina, residents said.

No agreement was reached in the meeting held on August 2 between a Kachin State government peace negotiation group and KIO leaders. While the central government seeks a cease-fire, KIO officials say they want an open political dialogue based on equality to stop the civil war and solve problems regarding ethnic affairs.

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