Split KIO/KIA Faction Officially Transforms To Militia Group

Written by KNG
Monday, 19 October 2009 20:35
Lasang Awng Wa Peace Group, which had split from the Kachin Independence Organization and its armed-wing the Kachin Independence Army in Burma’s northern Kachin State has officially transformed to the Burmese Army-controlled local militia group on October 16, said local sources.

The transition ceremony was held in the group’s Lawa Yang base, 20 miles northeast of Kachin State’s capital Myitkyina at 11 a.m. local time. It was conducted by Maj-Gen Soe Win, commander of the Myitkyina-based Northern Regional command of the junta, said the group’s sources.

With the goodwill and directives of the junta supremo Senior General Than Shwe, the group’s name was changed to “Lawa Yang Militia”. It has been formed with a total of 164 members— 60 armed and uniformed personnel, 94 reserved forces and a patron with 10 members of the Burmese Army, said insiders. At the ceremony, new green-coloured uniforms were provided to the newly formed Kachin militia group and the epaulets on the left and right shoulders on the uniform had “Militia” written below the arrow sign. This is the same as that of Burmese soldiers of the Northern Regional Command. The uniform had the word “Lawa Yang Militia” written on the chest, said militia sources.

The new Kachin militia comprises two units with 20 personnel each. Two militia units will be based in two different villages but close to each other. One unit will be stationed in Lawa Yang and another in Gwi Htu village, added militia sources.

Col. Lasang Awng Wa, former chief of KIO’s Intelligence and National Security Department split with over 300 KIA soldiers from the Laiza-based KIO/KIA on January 4, 2004 following a power struggle within the KIO/KIA.

Earlier, Col. Lasang Awng Wa was rewarded with a base in Gwi Htu Pa by former Northern Regional Command commander Maj-Gen Ohn Myint in late 2005. He was provided shelter in the territory of the New Democratic Army-Kachin (NDA-K) close to the KIO/KIA territory in east of Kachin State for several months.

At the moment, NDA-K is transforming its armed-wing to three battalions of the Border Guard Force with 900 military personnel including 30 per cent of soldiers from the Burmese Army under the direct command of the Chief of Staff of the Burmese Military from early this month, said sources in the group.

Now, the KIO/KIA, the mother of all Kachin armed groups is the only group, which has not accepted transforming KIA to the junta-proposed Border Guard Force.

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