Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Junta pressurizes KIO’s 4th brigade in northeast Shan State

(KNG) - The Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) is coming under increasing pressure from the Burmese military junta regarding the presence of its armed wing, the 4th Brigade of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in northeast Shan State, said KIO sources.

The KIA’s 4th Brigade is under pressure and has been given two options by the junta--- to shift all KIA bases and troops from northeast Shan State to Kachin State or to surrender its weapons to the regime and transform into a new Kachin militia group in the same places, according to KIA’s 4th Brigade sources.

The KIA’s 4th Brigade has been under mounting pressure to relocate or surrender by the ruling junta since it signed a ceasefire agreement with the junta in 1994, said KIA officers in the 4th Brigade.

Recently, the Lashio based junta’s Northeast of Shan State Military Command (Ya Ma Kha) commander Maj-Gen Soe Win pressurized the KIA’s 4th Brigade with the two options, added the KIA’s 4th Brigade sources.

Till now, the KIA’s 4th Brigade officials have been countering the junta’s pressure and they say they will neither surrender their weapons nor move to Kachin State, said KIA officials in Laiza headquarters on the Sino-Burma border in Kachin State.

Under the control of KIA’s 4th Brigade in northeast Shan State, the KIA battalion 2, 8 and 9 are currently based in its controlled areas. The Brigade has now over 1,500 men and women in uniform and is the strongest brigade among all five brigades of the KIA in Kachin and Shan States.

In the past after the ceasefire agreement, there were two big killings in the KIA’s 4th Brigade by the Burmese Army.

On January 2, 2006, five KIO servicemen including office staff and KIA soldiers in Muse Township Office were shot dead by Burmese troops. All the bodies were creamed by the Burmese Army.

There were similar atrocities in the KIA’s 4th Brigade, where nine KIA soldiers and two civilians in the KIA’s developing agricultural field were tortured and killed by the Burmese Army on March 22, 2001.

Despite the seriousness of the incidents, the KIO/KIA did not react strongly or threaten to break the ceasefire agreement between them. For this it was strongly condemned by its men and women in service and the Kachin people.

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