The Burma government’s recently implemented Border Guard Force in Karen State continues to see its soldiers’ desert to join up with opposition forces.
This week another 30 soldiers aligned themselves to the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army battalion in the Myaing Gyi Ngu area and led by Major Saw Beeh.
Brigadier General Saw Jonny, the commander of the Karen National Union Brigade 7 confirmed the desertions.
“30 BGF soldiers joined with Major Saw Beeh and brought weapons with them.”
Brigadier General Jonny said 15 of the renegade soldiers were under the Major Soe Naing commander of BGF Battalion (1011) and 15 under Major Maung Chit commander BGF Battalion (1014).
Brigadier General Jonny said the constant desertions were an indicator that Karen is not happy serving under the direct supervision of the Burma Army.
In 2010, as outlined in the 2008 constitution, the Burma Army attempted to disarm and dismantle the ethnic ceasefire groups and bring them under its control. The military regime’s intention was to reduce their size and reform the groups as a Border Guard Force and bring them under the strict command of the Burma Army.
Senior army officers tasked with the job of establishing the BGF have met with armed resistance as the militia groups tried to hold on to their power, their assets and their ethnic identities.
The DKBA commander, Major Saw Beeh, one of the first to split from the BGF, in May this year, took more than 1,000 soldiers to fight alongside the Karen National Union’s army in Brigade 1, 5 and 7.
About 200 Burmese government troops are secretly attempting to approach Laiza, the general headquarters of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), in Kachin State, Northern Burma, local people said.
Local military observers told Kachin News Group, the government’s troops are currently positioned at Dum Bang Bum mountain near old Hka La Yang village, on the east side of Myitkyina-Manmaw (Bhamo) Road in Waingmaw Township, since yesterday morning.
The area is close to the KIA strongholds at Laiza, Alen Bum and Laisin Bum.
During the Burma Army’s capture of the former KIA headquarters at Nahpaw and Pajau in 1989, Burmese troops fired artillery at the former KIA headquarters at Dum Bang Bum Mountain, according to locals.
Witnesses said more Burmese troops have been also stationed at N’Mawk (Momauk) Township for two days.
Fighting will occur soon if the government’s troops try to enter the KIA headquarters, said local people.
Since June, the KIA troops in Kachin State and Northern Shan State have been ordered to take only defensive action against government troops and their military bases, said KIA officers.
08 September 2011 – [CG Note: The ongoing situation in Sadar Hills District, Manipur, India has attracted attention of not only the ethnic peoples in Northeast India but also the Chins from Burma.
The Chinland Guardian has conducted an interview with Nehginpao Kipgen, a researcher on the rise of political conflicts in modern Burma (1947-2004) and general secretary of the U.S.-based Kuki International Forum (www.kukiforum.com).
He has written numerous analytical articles on the politics of Burma and Asia for many leading international newspapers in Asia, Africa, and the United States of America.]
Chinland Guardian: We have read a lot about problems arising in Sadar Hills District in Manipur, India. Tell us briefly about it.
Nehginpao Kipgen: It is a demand for the implementation of the Sadar Hills Autonomous District Council into a full-fledged district. It is an exercise of democratic rights by the people of Sadar Hills. On the eve of Manipur attaining statehood status in 1972, the Indian parliament passed the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Council Act, 1971. According to the Act, all the hill areas were to be divided into six autonomous districts, with the ultimate goal of a full-fledged district each. The six autonomous districts were:
1. Manipur South (Churachandpur)
2. Manipur North (Senapati)
3. Manipur East (Ukhrul)
4. Manipur West (Tamenglong)
5. Sardar Hills (Kangpokpi)
6. Tengnoupal (Chandel)
Of the six autonomous districts, only Sadar Hills is left to be accorded a full-fledged district status. Autonomous district council is a sub-administrative unit of a full-fledged district that has to seek the approval of the district administration on all matters concerning executive, legislative, judicial and financial matters.
There is too much interference by the district administration. For example, the deputy commissioner of a full-fledged district can modify or change the budget passed by an autonomous district council administration. All taxes collected by the council are sent to the district administration.
The basic requirements for autonomy and self-government are lacking in autonomous district councils. On the other hand, a full-fledged district is an administrative unit headed by a deputy commissioner, a district magistrate, and a superintendent of police. The Sadar Hills district headquarters will come under the Kuki-majority urban town in Kangpokpi. In addition, Sadar Hills will enjoy all the benefits and privileges of a full-fledged district.
Chinland Guardian: Do you think this is also part of disputes and misunderstanding among tribal or ethnic groups dwelling in the area?
Nehginpao Kipgen: Unfortunately, politics in Manipur is largely driven along ethnic lines. The three major groups of people are the Meiteis, the Kukis, and the Nagas. They are of the same Mongoloid race, speaking Tibeto-Burman languages. The unbiased solution would be the implementation of the district in accordance with Manipur (Hill Areas) District Council Act, 1971. You cannot demarcate a district boundary based on ethnicity in a state like Manipur. For instance, you can find all the three major ethnic groups in all districts of the state. If Sadar Hills district boundary were to be drawn along ethnic line, it can engender a chain of other demands in existing districts. Continue reading “Interview with KIF General Secretary Nehginpao Kipgen on Sadar Hills Problems”
Sittwe: About 300 monks in Sittwe, the capital of Arakan state, marched today into Ottama garden to commemorate the Ottama monument on the 72nd anniversary of Ottama’s death. Ottama advocated for Burmese independence from British rule.
A witness said, “Around 300 monks from several monasteries in Sittwe marched to the Ottma monument in the Ottama garden holding bowls to commemorate Ottama for the sacrifices he made in his push for Burmese independence at 10am today. When the monks reached the front of the Ottama monument, the monks lined up and laid wreaths and single flowers down.”
Some senior monks in the group delivered speeches about Ottama to the assembly of monks in front of the monument.
“Some monks delivered speeches to the other participating monks about Ottama. When the time reached 11am, the monks dispersed and returned to their respective monasteries. Authorities felt disturbed by the monks actions,” the witness said.
After the event, authorities beefed up security around the area of the Ottama garden by deploying many extra security forces including plain clothes police and riot police.
Another witness said, “Many security forces were deployed by the high authority after the monks march to the monument. But the force did not forbid anyone from honoring Ottama at the monument in the garden.”
This is first time such a large number of Arakanese monks have gathered in Sittwe after the Saffron Revolution in Burma. During the Saffron Revolution in 2007, thousand of monks in Sittwe joined the movement against the military government.
“It is the first time monks gathered in front of the Ottama monument in Sittwe since the monks movement in 2007. So people are very excited and interested in this event. Everybody will closely watch what happens today.”
It was learnt that in the evening, there was a big function in Sittwe for the 72nd anniversary of Ottama day and many local people in Sittwe, along with RNDP leaders, marched to the monument to honor Ottama with candles and flowers. Continue reading “300 Monks in Sittwe March to Honor the Ottama Monument”