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Saboi Jum lambasts KIO for rejecting BGF

May 14, 2010

Baptist pastor and peace mediator Rev. Dr. Lahtaw Saboi Jum has lambasted the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) for rejecting conversion to the Burmese Army controlled Border Guard Force, said local sources.

He expressed his displeasure in front of over 800 worshipers during  his sermon on the May 9 Sunday worship in Shatapru Kachin Baptist Church  between 8 a.m. – 10 a.m. in Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State, said local worshipers.

Conversely, the pastor patted the two smaller Kachin armed groups— the New Democratic Army-Kachin that transformed to the junta-proposed BGF in November last year, and Lasang Awng Wa Peace Group that also changed to two local militia groups in October last year, a worshiper told Kachin News Group today.

Young men in the church have been angered by Saboi Jum’s sermon. He has always been treated with skepticism for his mediation efforts between ethnic armed groups and the junta, said a youth in the church.

Meanwhile, Saboi Jum was recently awarded 5,000 acres of land on the road between Myitkyina and Bhamo by the junta, whereas common people cannot even get an acre of land from the regime in Kachin State, local sources close to the pastor said.

Earlier, Saboi Jum and his younger brother Hkun Myat had suggested to the KIO in writing to accept the junta’s BGF proposal— or else relations between them would cease.

The two brothers are trying to mediate between the KIO and the junta.  Saboi Jum is the founder of the national peace NGO known as Shalom Foundation, or Nyein Foundation in Burmese. He is also the active director of the foundation.

With the intervention of the two brothers, the KIO delegates and junta officials met at least 17 times on the contentious BGF issue in Myitkyina since April 28 last year. But the meetings failed to resolve the imbroglio.

The KIO has been rigid in its stance that it will not accept the BGF without the consensus of the Kachin people inside and outside the country.

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