On Christmas, Burma Army’s Order Like a Call to War: Observers

On Christmas, Burma Army’s Order Like a Call to War: Observers

KIA troops stand at attention during a military drill at a base in Kachin State. (Photo: The Irrawaddy)

KIA troops stand at attention during a military drill at a base in Kachin State. (Photo: The Irrawaddy)

The Burma Army has issued an order to armed ethnic rebels in Kachin State that observers say is akin to a declaration of war, as the government claims to be working toward peace in the region.

In a letter sent on Sunday, the government’s Burma Army ordered ethnic rebels to vacate an important route near their headquarters.

All soldiers from the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) should leave the route to Lajayang region, about 11 kilometers from their headquarters in Laiza on the Sino-Burma border, before Tuesday, according to the letter.

Kachin leaders responded that they would stand their ground.

The letter was signed by Brig-Gen Tun Tun Naung, northern commander of the government’s army, and sent through the independent Peace Talk Creation Group. It said government soldiers would be deployed to the Lajayang region to work on administrative processes there.

But Aung Kyaw Zaw, a Burma military watcher on the Sino-Burma border, said he believed the deployment would serve a military purpose.

“It’s not normal; it’s a declaration of war,” Aung Kyaw Zaw said, adding that government forces would likely wipe out KIA troops if the rebels remained on the frontlines.

“It’s not suitable to make such an order when the government is working on the peace process with ethnic groups,” he added.

The KIA’s political wing, the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), sent a letter to the government’s main peace negotiator, Minister Aung Min of the President’s Office, saying it rejected the Burma Army’s order, which it described as a military threat, and would continue to keep rebel fighters in Lajayang.

The KIO’s letter was sent to Aung Min on Monday and seen by The Irrawaddy on Tuesday.

The letter said the KIO rejected military threats to resolve the conflict, as the organization aims for a resolution through political dialogue during peace negotiations with the government.

The conflict in Kachin State is escalating, as more government troops head toward KIA headquarters and fighting breaks out daily, according to Kachin sources.

Fighting is especially bad in Lajayang, a region that government troops hope to overtake, observers say. The region is strategically close to KIA headquarters in Laiza, where about 70,000 refugees have taken shelter.

“Our bases in that region [Lajayang] are very important for us and our headquarters,” KIO spokesman La Nan told The Irrawaddy on Tuesday. “There’s no way we’ll pull our troops out of there.”

La Nan said the Burma Army’s order seemed to indicate plans for a large-scale military offensive.

“Our troops are deployed in those [Lajayang] areas,” he said. “If they [government soldiers] enter that zone, fighting will surely break out.”


4 Responses to On Christmas, Burma Army’s Order Like a Call to War: Observers

  1. WAR IS PEACE!
    FREEDOM IS SLAVERY!
    IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH!

    Thamada Gyi            wun swage

    Doh May May Suu      wun swage

    Kachin blood flowing down the Irrawaddy will make the Burmese RICH.

    Long Live America!
    Long Live China!

  2. Jaw jaw, not war war. A political settlement has to be reached with all the minorities for a lasting peace, not on off cease fires when convenient. The guns must fall silent first but for ever once and for all. About time real efforts toward genuine national reconciliation got off the ground.

    STOP THIS WAR! PEACE, LAND and FOOD!
    PEOPLE BEFORE PROFITS. PEACE BEFORE PROSPERITY.

  3. When GOV troops overrun the KNU HQ,Karen resistance is still more than ever.Even Burma 
    army may wipe out the KIA in this area(latayang),after given heavy price.That may be a temporary set back for KIO,but resistance is going to stronger than ever.
     Every democratic system, all arm force is under the elected Government,also all arm force must obey the order from elected official and protect the constitution.
      THEIN SEIN ADMINISTRATION MUST  PROOF THEIR AUTHORITY OVER THE  BURMA ARMY TO BUILT THE TRUST FROM OTHER ETHNIC  RESISTANCE.IF GOV OWN SOLDIER DO NOT LISTEN TO GOV ORDER, PLEASE DO NOT BOTHER TO ASK OTHERS.

  4. KIA/KIO are terrorists. They explode local trains and electrical cable towers, even they kill innocent Kachin, Shan, Bama people. They look like Talibans and Osmabinlardin.

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