Delegates of the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), one of the largest ethnic ceasefire groups in military-ruled Burma arrived in Myitkyina last night for a meeting with Burmese junta functionaries, said KIO sources. The meeting is slated for today but it was yet to start at the time of writing this report.
The eight-member KIO delegation led by Vice-president No. 1 Lt-Gen Gauri Zau Seng will meet Lt-Gen Ye Myint, the junta’s head of the Executive Committee of Transition and chief Naypyitaw negotiator for all ethnic ceasefire groups, according to KIO sources.
At the meeting, the KIO will reiterate its demand that it wants to convert its armed-wing the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) to a self-controlled Kachin Regional Guard Force (KRGF) and direct participation of KIO people in the new Kachin State government following next year’s general elections, KIO officers in Laiza headquarters told KNG today.
The KIO’s demands were approved by Kachin civilian leaders in both KIO controlled areas and controlled areas of the junta in Kachin State and Northeast Shan State in the KIO-conducted emergent public meeting in Laiza headquarters on September 5. The meeting will be the seventh for delegates from both sides in Myitkyina after the Burmese junta framed a policy for all ethnic ceasefire groups in the country to transform their armies into the Burmese Army-controlled Border Guard Forces since April, KIO officers in Laiza headquarters on the Sino-Burma border said.
However, the junta did not come up with any official reply regarding the KIO’s demands and it is continuing to pressurize the KIO to transform to the Border Guard Force before the October deadline, said KIO officials.
According to KIO officers in Laiza, the junta supremo Senior General Than Shwe twice rejected requests to meet the KIO-despatched civilian peace mediators led by Rev. Dr. Lahtaw Saboi Jum, former general secretary of the Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) last July and August.
Because of this, KIO’s demands have stopped with Lt-Gen Ye Myint and have not reached Snr-Gen Than Shwe until now, KIO sources added.
KIO Laiza sources said, this meeting may be the last and may mark an end to the ceasefire between them if the junta does not consider the KIO’s demands and keeps pressing for transforming KIA to the Border Guard Force.
On September 2, the KIO dismissed six high ranking officers including Vice-president No. 2 Dr. Manam Tu Ja and Deputy General Secretary N’Ja Naw Rip, who decided to contest next year’s elections.
KIO calls urgent civilian meeting on removing family belongings to Chinese territory
The Department of General Administration, DGA (civil administration) under KIO today called civilians and civilian leaders in Laiza at the Myu Lawt Wunli Lu hall given the rush by civilians in shifting their family belongings to Chinese territories in fear of resumption of civil war between the KIO and the Burmese junta, said participants.
Salang Kaba Doi Pyi Sa, deputy in-charge of DGA calmed down the civilians and civilian leaders and asked them to stop shifting their belongings because of war may not occur at the moment, said a participant. But, he also suggested that the civilians should cautious and be alert.
Hundreds of Kachin civilians in the villages along the Sino-Burma border situated near the KIO military bases have transported their belongings to relatives in Chinese territory in their own way by crossing the border since last month.
At the September 5 public meeting in Laiza, the KIO leaders explained to the people attending that civil war may resume if the junta totally rejects the KIO’s demands and starts an offensive against it, said participants.
At the moment, KIA soldiers are on high alert to defend themselves against intruding Burmese troops after the junta captured Kokang ceasefire group’s territory in Northeast Shan State on August 24, said KIA sources.