Tuesday, June 16, 2009

KIA troops take to forests for possible war with Burmese Army

Written by KNG

Troops of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) are going into the forests from their army battalions in Burma's northern Kachin State for a possible war with the Burmese Army. This, despite having accepted the junta's strategy of transforming the armed-wing in principle, said local sources.

Columns of KIA soldiers are heading for the frontline. The KIA’s activity is mainly concentrated in the areas around Laiza, the headquarters and the border trade centre of KIA and its political wing the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), said sources close to KIA soldiers.

A KIO serviceman of the KIA 3rd Brigade in Bhamo district told KNG, "Now, all KIA soldiers are entering the bushes. Many KIA soldiers have fanned out around the KIO/A headquarters in Laiza on the Sino-Burma border."

An eyewitness told KNG today, she surprisingly saw several columns of Burmese Army soldiers on the road between Bhamo and Kai Htik, the border trade route between China and Burma in Bhamo district.

All KIA soldiers are equipped with sophisticated guns and ammunition. They have been ordered to standby 24 hours in their army bases, KIA sources said.

The KIA’s preparation is to defend itself from the Burmese troops. It is not offensive in nature, according to KIA officials.

Maj-Gen Gunhtang Gam Shawng, Chief of Staff of KIA reiterated that the junta's proposal of transforming KIA into a battalion of border guard force before the end of this year is a load of nonsense. The KIA’s transformation will be considered after all political problems between the KIO and the junta are resolved.

On the other hand, political leaders of the KIO met the junta's army officials at least twice on transforming the KIA in Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State in the last two weeks, said KIO/A's headquarter sources.

As of now, Kachin political leaders are against the junta's proposal of transforming KIA to a battalion of a border guard force. All Kachin political organizations, Kachin university students in the entire country and Kachin people both inside Burma and abroad are against this move.

The KIA is one of strongest ethnic armed groups in the country because it connects with all Kachin people and is supported by all Kachins in Burma and abroad.

Unless the political problems are resolved first, the transformation of KIA is unacceptable for both KIA and the Kachin people.

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