by Mizzima News
Saturday, 05 September 2009 19:08
Mizzima News – The Burmese military junta is relentlessly mounting pressure on ceasefire groups to amalgamate them under the total control of the Burmese Army. The regime ought to stop using its military might and the law of the jungle against the ceasefire groups, but find political solutions to the issue.
After successfully putting the Burmese pro-democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi behind bars in a step to move her out of their planned 2010 general elections, another victim in their plans of elimination of all obstacles on its way to the seven-step roadmap is the Kokang ceasefire group known as Shan State Special Region No. 1 led by Peng Jiasheng. The generals from Naypyitaw attacked and captured the Kokang group territories in end August.
Clashes broke out in Kokang areas on August 27 after the junta’s troops raided and searched the house of the Kokang leader Peng Jiasheng on the pretext of searching for narcotic drugs. According to the defeated Peng Jiasheng’s sources, the two-day war left nearly 200 including civilians dead. The Burmese Army lost 26 men while 47 were injured.
Many houses were destroyed in the Kokang capital Lao Kai and over 30,000 civilians became war refugees and fled to neighbouring China within days. The leader of the Kokang Army also known as the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), once put on a pedestal and highly revered by the ruling generals, has now turned into a drug-warlord in the eyes of the junta. Meanwhile, the group’s deputy leader Bai Souqing has became a temporary ally of Naypyitaw.
It is rather ironic and interesting, to see the extremely nationalistic ruling generals, who have been in deep slumber for the past 20 years over drug production and trafficking in this region, suddenly waking up and implementing a drug eradication programme. Now the generals can afford to forget what these drug lords had contributed to them in terms of legitimacy and the financial support through their black money. Though these contributions were once crucial for the regime to consolidate power, it no longer seems to be as important for them as having control over the territories of the ceasefire armed groups.
The junta’s exploitation of the rift among ceasefire groups is a lesson to be learnt by all other ceasefire groups including Wa, Kachin, Mongla, Mon and Karen.
There can be no lasting peace in Burma unless the ethnic issues are resolved through negotiation and peaceful means. Equality, justice, peace and development can be best achieved only through political negotiation and not by repression.