Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Junta deploys fresh troops secretly in Kachin State

by KNG

The Burmese military junta is secretly deploying more combat troops in Kachin State at a time when negotiations are on with the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) over the transformation of its armed-wing into a battalion of a "Border Guard Force", said local sources.

As of the second week of June, able soldiers have been selected from different battalions and secretly infused into local Burmese Army battalions and military bases in the frontlines in different regions of Kachin State by the instruction of Lt-Gen Ye Myint of Chief of Military Affairs Security of the junta. They include two unidentified Light Infantry Divisions, said a source close to Burmese troops.

The new batch of troops are now secretly being stationed in the areas around Bhamo District in the eastern region of Irrawaddy River (also called Mali Hka in Kachin) and the areas between Myitkyina-Mandalay railways in the western region of the Irrawaddy River, the sources added.

Eyewitnesses in Bhamo said they often see Burmese military columns on the road between Bhamo-Namkham (Namhkam in Kachin), the illegal border trade route with China. They also see military columns of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the armed-wing of KIO on the same trade route.

The KIO suggested to the junta that the KIA be made a "State Security Force" instead of the junta-proposed "Border Guard Force" during the meeting between KIO delegates and the regime over transforming KIA, in Mali Hka Center in the junta's Northern Command headquarters in the Kachin State's capital Myitkyina on June 21, said KIO sources.

The KIO delegation was led by Vice-president No. 1 Lt-Gen Gauri Zau Seng while the junta's delegates were led by Northern Command Commander Brig-Gen Soe Win.

Meanwhile, KIO leaders are campaigning among the Kachin community in its controlled areas in Kachin State and in Northeast Shan State. It is explaining about the proposed KIA’s transformation. They are also asking for written suggestions to be sent to the KIO central committee, said Kachins in the two states. It is a month-long campaign to be concluded in June, said KIO officers.

Meanwhile, KIA troops have been alerted and are on standby in all battalions in Kachin State and Northeast Shan State to defend itself against the Burmese Army, said KIA officials.

All Kachin political organizations in the country and abroad and the Kachin public have advised to the KIO/A to reject the proposal of transforming the KIA and fight the junta, according to the Kachin media.

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