Monday, April 30, 2012

Four government officials killed in attack on office

Monday, 30 April 2012 13:12 Mizzima News

(Mizzima) – A sub-township administrator in Waingmaw Township in Kachin State and three other government employees were killed in an attack on a government office on Saturday by a small Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) armed group. Three other persons are missing.

our KIO rebels launched the attack, according to an article in the New Light of Myanmar, a state-run newspaper.

The attack is the latest in a series of armed clashes in the region, as the effort to hold peace talks has broken down. Last week the KIO refused to meet with government peace negotiators, saying it had lost confidence in the process and it believed the government was preparing to launch an offensive.

A member of the Kachin Independence Organization engages in firing practice. Photo: Mizzima

State media also reported a separate incident involving heavy weapons fire in another area, where 200 KIO fighters were said to have captured vehicles belonging to a Burma construction company linked to a Chinese company working at one of the dam sites in the area.

The government has launched a peace offensive during the past year, conducting negotiations with a host of ethnic armed groups. The KIO is the last significant ethnic armed group not to have signed a cease-fire agreement. The two sides have met three times so far in Ruili, China, but no concrete progress has been achieved, and armed clashes have continued, with significant casualties on the both sides, according to reports which are hard to verify.

Some reports say up to 50,000 people have been displaced in the area by clashes between government troops and KIO forces, who use guerrilla-type tactics in confronting government forces. A 17-year cease-fire was broken in June 2011.

Among the issues separating the two sides was the construction of Myitsone Dam, a Chinese-backed hydropower project on the Irrawaddy River, which the government  has suspended by order of President Thein Sein.

The KIO has several thousand soldiers. The predominantly Baptist and Catholic Kachin ethnic group account for about seven per cent of Burma's population. They live in the remote far north area near the Chinese border.

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