KIA officials said war could erupt any time in northern Shan State since Burmese troops approached the territories of the KIA’s 4th Brigade to search for ethnic Shan soldiers in early April.
At the moment, Burmese troops have stopped at the boundaries near the three KIA battalions No. 2, No.8, No. 9 and the brigade headquarters at Loikang. However, they have not entered the KIA territories so far, according to the 4th Brigade sources.
Lahpai Zau Raw, Chairman of the KIA’s Brigade 4 said, “Our troops are on standby for war. We have no option if they intrude our forbidden territories.”
Dai Lawn Rung, the central KIA military command based in Laiza, eastern Kachin State, ordered the KIA’s Brigade 4 to take military action against Burmese troops when they enter into the brigade’s territories, KIA officials said.
Zau Raw said the brigade rejected the Burmese troops’ excuse that SSA-N soldiers are escaping into the brigade controlled area and Burmese troops will not be allowed to enter the area to search for SSA-N soldiers.
Both the KIA and SSA-N are members of the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) which was formed by 12 ethnic organizations in February on the Thai-Burma border. The UNFC is an alliance seeking to establish a genuine federal union within Burma, with equal rights among ethnic people.
There are five battalions and five people’s defense battalions under the KIA’s brigade 4, with more than 4,000 personnel.
Previously, the Northern Shan State-based KIA Brigade 4 was pressured by the military regime to transform into three local militia groups under control of the Burmese Army or withdraw into Kachin State.
The KIA rejected the regime’s proposal and has warned that war will happen in Kachin State if Burmese troops start an offensive against Brigade 4 in Northern Shan state.
The KIA was labeled “Insurgents” by the Burmese government on October 15 last year.
The KIA has rejected the label and it has kept the 1994 ceasefire agreement which was broken by the government in September, last year, KIA officials said.
During this time of escalating military tension, leaders of the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), the political wing of the KIA, is seeking political dialogue with the new military-backed Burmese government, according to a KIO official in the Laiza headquarters.