Former Kachin rebel leaders advise KIO to accept BGF

In what is possibly a bid by the Burmese junta to exert pressure, leaders of former Kachin armed groups’ in a letter last week have advised the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) to accept the regime-proposed Border Guard Force because it cannot take on the Tatmadaw, said KIO officials.

082509-n-burmese-armyThe joint letter said: “The KIO cannot resist the junta alone and will buy trouble,” a KIO officer in Laiza headquarters in Burma’s northern Kachin State, near the China border told Kachin News Group today.

The letter was jointly penned by Dr. Manam Tu Ja leader of the Kachin State Progressive Party and former Vice-chairman No. 2 of KIO, Zahkung Ting Ying leader of former New Democratic Army-Kachin (NDA-K) and Col. Lasang Awng Wa of leader of Lasang Awng Wa Peace Group, said KIO officers in Laiza.

The three pro-junta Kachin leaders said they had written the letter on their own volition without being directed by the junta.  KIO officers think otherwise and are certain that they were coerced to write the letter by the regime, said a KIO officer in Laiza.

Meanwhile, however delegates from KIO and the junta side met for the 13th time yesterday morning in the junta’s Northern Regional Command Headquarters in Myitkyina, said KIO sources.  The meeting focused on transforming the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the armed-wing of KIO to the Burmese Army-controlled BGF, added KIO officers.

The meeting was held between Lt-Gen Ye Myint, chief of Military Affairs Security (MAS) and Naypyitaw negotiator for ethnic armed groups for transforming BGF and three KIO senior leaders— KIO Chairman Lanyaw Zawng Hra, Dr. Lahkyen La Ja of General Secretary and Brig-Gen Sumlut Gun Maw of Vice Chief of Staff.

Even as parleys continue, the junta is transporting new artillery and military trucks from Mandalay to Northern Regional Command Headquarters along the Mandalay-Bhamo-Myitkyina road, said local sources.

Eyewitnesses told KNG today, they saw 92 military trucks including 18 trucks carrying artillery pieces each and four trucks carrying Burmese troops from the Light Infantry Division No. 33 based in Ywataung, Sagaing Division crossing Laja Yang Checkpoint on the Myitkyina-Bhamo route, till this noon.

A KIA officer in Laiza, near Laja Yang told KNG today, “I saw that the new artillery guns on the trucks are larger than 120 mm mortars.  It must have been received from North Korea and Russia”.

The current weapons and troops despatched to Kachin State’s military headquarters include about 150 military trucks and over 200 soldiers, said KIA’s sources.

The Burmese junta received a variety of weapons from China, India, Singapore, North Korea, Ukraine and Russia.

Given the mounting military tension in the KIO controlled areas in Kachin State and Northeast Shan State over the BGF issue, the KIO/KIA is also gearing up in its own way for war with the Burmese Army.

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