Those sources said the decision was made last week and the KIO was labeled the “government’s main domestic enemy.” They said the war will begin soon.
Until now, the decision was not publicly announced in the state-controlled papers and no preparations have been made by the Burmese Army in the areas near the KIO territories in Kachin State and Shan State, KIO sources said.
The announcement followed the regime’s labeling of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the armed-wing of KIO as “Insurgents”, on October 15, last year.
The accusation was rejected by James Lum Dau, Deputy Foreign Affairs Officer for the KIO based in Bangkok, Thailand. He said the KIO is seeking a permanent peace in the whole country and it is also trying to reestablish the “Panglong Spirit” in the country.
The new Union of Burma was formed in 1948, following the signing of the 1947 Panglong Agreement, signed by Burman, Kachin, Shan and Chin ethnic leaders.
In hopes of establishing political dialogue, the KIO signed a ceasefire agreement with the central government on February 24, 1994 and supported the military-favored 2008 constitution.
No political dialogue took place in the 16-year ceasefire period and the KIO was pressured to disarm and transform into the Burmese Army-controlled Border Guard Force (BGF) before the November 7th election.
The KIO rejected the BGF proposal, saying it cannot accept transformation of its armed wing, before the four-decades of political problems between them are solved.
The KIO has strengthened its armed-wing, the KIA, and helped organize the ethnic political and military alliance known as the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), designed for joint resistance against a possible military offensive by the central government against the ethnic armed groups.
The UNFC was formed in February by more than 12 ethnic political and armed groups.
A government offensive may happen first in the territory of the 4th brigade of the KIA, based in Northern Shan State, KIA officials in the Laiza headquarters, in Kachin State, said.
KIA officials said the civil war will spread across Kachin and Shan states if the government starts a war with the KIO.