Written by KNG
Tuesday, 25 August 2009 18:34
In a reminder Burma’s military junta has demanded handing over of the manpower of the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), the main ethnic Kachin ceasefire group and its armed wing, in northern Burma and one of the strongest ethnic armed groups in the country before the October deadline set by the regime, said local sources.
KIO/KIA’s entire manpower was sought by Maj-Gen Soe Win, local chief negotiator of the ruling junta and commander of the Northern Regional Command (Ma-Pa-Kha) based in Kachin State’s capital Myitkyina during a meeting with KIO delegates in the capital on August 22, said KIO officials in Laiza headquarters on the Sino-Burma border in Kachin State.
This meeting followed when the KIO submitted the list of over 10 organizational departments to the junta on August 12.
According to KIO delegates, Commander Soe Win kept repeating to the KIO at the meeting to convert its armed-wing the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) to a battalion of the Border Guard Force (BGF) under the control of the Burmese Army. The KIO has rejected the proposal.
The eight KIO delegates led by Vice-president No. 1 Lt-Gen Gauri Zau Seng told the commander that it cannot provide the list of men and women in service in the KIO and KIA by the October deadline. On the contrary, it would like to keep discussions on the issue going with the new government after next year’s general elections, said KIO sources.
On July 8, the KIO clearly submitted its two organizational demands— the KIA to convert to a self-controlled Kachin Regional Guard Force (KRGF) and power sharing in the new Kachin State government with direct participation of KIO people after next year’s general elections.
The KIO’s demands are yet to be considered by the junta. But it has been increasingly pressurizing it to accept the Burmese Army-controlled BGF, said KIO officials in Laiza headquarters.
At the moment, both the Burmese Army and the KIA are sending more and more troops to Hpakant jade mining land following a face off between them two weeks ago, said KIA sources. The military stand off was resolved by commander Soe Win and KIO Vice-chairman Lt-Gen N’ban La Awng.
The KIO/A has forged an alliance with four ethnic ceasefire groups in Shan State to defend themselves if any group is attacked by the Burmese Army. The allies are the Shan State Army-North (SSA-N), United Wa State Army (UWSA), Kokang ceasefire group and Mongla-based National Democratic Alliance Army-Eastern Shan State (NDAA-ESS), said KIO officials.
The KIO has accepted in principle the transformation of its armed-wing proposed by the junta to all ethnic ceasefire groups in the country last May because it would like to resolve the political problems between them by political means through dialogues, said KIO officials.