The Burmese military junta is forcibly recruiting people from East Burma to form a people’s militia in Northeast Shan State, the area where the 4th brigade of the Kachin Independence Army is located, said a local source.
A resident of border town Mongkoe, where the army has set up a training camp, told Kachin News Group that the Burmese military was forcibly assembling local people for recruitment for a people’s militia since January 11.
KIA soldiers in Laisin Bum in Kachin State near China border.
“At least 60 people from Mongkoe have already been recruited,” said the source.
“They (local Burmese military authorities) forced the civilians to attend the training programme. This problem is being faced by Mongkoe and its surrounding areas,” he added.
However, no one is certain of the motive of the regime in trying to form the militia. Local people think it might be to take on the Kachin Independence Organization/Army (KIO/A) and pressurize the ethnic armed group.
“They want to pressurize the KIO and the KIA’s 4th brigade. Should there be clashes between KIA and the Burmese Army, the militia will be sent to the front lines because they know the terrain well,” said a resident. Eyewitnesses said they have seen fresh batches of Burmese soldiers travelling in 32 army trucks to Loikang village on January 8, where KIA’s 4th brigade is based.
The junta had ordered KIA’s 4th brigade to shift to Kachin State to KIO’s headquarters in Laiza but the rebels have refused because the place is historically linked to KIO, which was formed there in October 25, 1960. The armed wing, KIA was set up in February 5, 1961.
Lt-Gen Min Aung Hlaing, the junta’s Chief of Bureau of Special Operations-2 (BS0) directed KIA in September last year to move.
“They are trying to pressurize KIO by sending additional forces into the area, and they will use the militia to put heat on the 4th brigade,” said the source.
The 4th brigade of KIA has four battalions— No. 2, No. 8, No. 9 and No. 17 in Northeast Shan State.