Monday, December 12, 2011

Burma orders halt to military offensives in Kachin State

Monday, 12 December 2011 22:05 Phanida

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Burmese President Thein Sein on Saturday gave written instructions to the commander-in-chief of the Defence Services to stop military offensives in Kachin State.

On Monday, at a press conference on MP donations to Kachin war refugees, Kachin State Chief Minister La John Ngan Sai read the president’s letter instructing General Min Aung Hlaing to halt offensives. MPs donated clothes and 70 million kyat (US$88,000) to Kachin war refugees.

Burmese President Thein Sein in traditional Burmese dress. Photo: Mizzima

The letter ordered the commander not to launch military offensives “except for resisting [offensives] if required,” a source close to the Kachin State chief minister told  Mizzima.

The ceremony and press conference was held in Myitkyina City Hall in Kachin State. More than 600 people including Kachin State ministers, government officials, political parties, religious leaders, community leaders and journalists attended the ceremony and press conference.

The letter said that leaders on both sides are working to establish peace in Kachin State and to clear up misunderstandings, according to people who attended the ceremony.

On the other hand, the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) said that it has not been officially informed about the instructions and the government is still launching military offensives and fighting continues.

“They seem to have a plan to reinforce their troops. We need to monitor their actions. If the government troops enter into our areas, we must do what we should do,” KIA spokesman La Nang told Mizzima.

According to sources close to the KIA, fighting continued between the KIA and government troops on Monday in the area controlled by KIA Battalion No. 15 under Brigade No. 3.

Over the weekend, the government sent troop reinforcements to Kutkai Township in northern Shan State near the area controlled by KIA Battalion No. 9, KIA sources said.

“A few days ago, more than 100 armed soldiers and mules entered Huphyat in Kutkai Township near the area controlled by KIA Battalion No. 9. If the president gave the written instruction [to the commander-in-chief], their military activity has not stopped. The government troops have not withdrawn from our areas. The government is always cheating. Its words and actions are different,” Colonel Zau Yaw, the officer in charge of KIA Brigade No. 4, told Mizzima.

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