Saturday, June 27, 2009

KIA lance-corporal disappears on way home

Lance-corporal So Ba Du of the Special Gorkha Squandron of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) disappeared while returning home from the squandron base in Laiza headquarters to Myitkyina in Burma's northern Kachin State on June 7, said KIA sources.

by KNG

The incident comes at a time of mounting military tension between Burma's ruling junta and the KIA after the latter was pressurized to transform to a battalion of the Border Guard Force (BGF) by the regime.

Lance-corporal So Ba Du is a Gorkha (Nepali). He was returning home in Myitkyina to attend a relative’s wedding after he was given leave by the KIA, said Laiza KIA sources.

Lance-corporal So Ba Du was detained on the Balaminhtin Irrawaddy River Bridge and was checked because he was a Gorkha soldier of the KIA by Burmese soldiers at the bridge checkpoint, KIA Laiza sources said.

According to the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), the political wing of the KIA, the Burmese junta does not like the close relationship and cooperation between the KIO and Gorkhas. The Gorkha soldiers in KIA are always monitored by the junta, added KIO sources.

In April, Gorkha families in Myitkyina were summoned and checked by agents of the junta's military intelligence, the Military Affairs Security Unit (Sa Ya Pha). Young girls were put in prison cells for over a week following their return from Laiza after attending the May Daw festival, said sources close to them.

KIA sources said, KIA soldiers are being harassed in different ways while traveling. It has no idea how many KIA soldiers have been secretly arrested by Burmese troops.

The KIO informed the ruling junta on June 21 that it would like to transform the KIA to a "State Security Force" instead of a "Border Guard Force" as proposed by the junta.

Local reliable sources said, the KIA and Burmese troops are both on high alert and are on standby in the event of a resumption of civil war.

At the moment, the three other smaller Kachin ceasefire groups which split from the KIO/A--- the New Democratic Army-Kachin (NDA-K) and Lasang Awng Wa Peace Group in Kachin State, and Kachin Defense Army (KDA) in northeast Shan State have agreed to transform their forces to the "Border Guard Forces", said sources.

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