Written by KNG
Saturday, 31 October 2009 18:49
The Burmese military junta’s deadline for conversion of all ethnic ceasefire groups in the country to the Border Guard Force expired today without fully achieving its objective.
The junta’s BGF policy for ethnic ceasefire groups failed because the main groups rejected transforming their armed-wings to the regime proposed force, except the less powerful ones, said sources.
Five major armed groups from 17 ethnic ceasefire groups in the country— the United Wa State Army (UWSA), the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), the Shan State Army-North (SSA-N), the Mongla-based National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) and the New Mon State Party (NMSP) rejected outright the junta’s proposed BGF, said the groups’ sources.
Only weak armed groups like the Kokang-based Kachin Defense Army (KDA), the Pangwah-based New Democratic Army-Kachin (NDA-K), Karen Peace Force (KPF), Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (KDBA), Karenni Nationalities People’s Liberation Front (KNPLF) and other small groups toed the junta line in transforming their armed-wings to the BGF or small militia groups. The junta officially announced its BGF policy in April and all the ethnic ceasefire groups were told to transform their armed-wings to the Burmese Army-controlled BGF by end October.
In order to compromise, KIO negotiated with the junta on the issue of converting its armed-wing, the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) to the BGF eight times, but the negotiations failed, according to KIO officials.
KIO officials said, two of its proposals were rejected by the junta supremo Snr-Gen Than Shwe because he wants the KIO to transform to the BGF and nothing else.
KIO’s first proposal in July wanted the conversion of the KIA to the special Kachin Regional Guard Force (KRGF) on a brigade level and the direct participation of KIO representatives in the new Kachin state government following the 2010 elections.
The KIO’s second proposal in early October said that the KIO would lay down arms on its own if the junta accepts and implements the Panglong Agreement following which the union of Burma was formed together by the Burman leader Gen Aung San and ethnic Kachin, Shan and Chin leaders on February 12, 1947.
Now, the KIO, UWSA, NMSP, SSA-N and NDAA are on military alert to defend itself against a sudden offensive by the Burmese Army, said sources. They cannot give into conversion of its armed-wings without achieving the goals of self-determination, said insiders.
The junta has begun reinforcing its troops in the areas of ethnic ceasefire groups, which rejected the BGF as of April, however there is no fresh military movement and signs of a military offensive in the immediate future, added the group’s sources.
The junta is trying to moblise all ethnic ceasefire groups in the country to come under the wing of a single command of the country’s Military Chief-of-Staff before the general elections in 2010.