Laiza is as good as occupied, as strategic hills around it have been seized by the Burma Army, said military analyst Aung Kyaw Zaw today. He confirmed that altogether Naypyitaw had launched 242 airstrikes against the Kachin Independence Army (KIA). The Burmese military’s mindset is not for peace but for total defeat of the KIA, he said. Full report tomorrow. SHAN NEWS

With the seizure of elevations dominating Laiza, the Kachin Independence Organization / Kachin Independence Army (KIO/KIA) capital, the town is “as good as occupied” by the Burmese military, according to prominent military analyst Aung Kyaw Zaw.

“It can be occupied at any time now,” he said. “Besides, according to our information, the government is planning to build a cross-border road from La Jayang to Yinjiang, bypassing Laiza, thereby reducing the town’s importance as a commercial point.”

Aung Kyaw Zaw (Photo: SHAN)

The KIO/KIA headquarters has already been moved to an undisclosed area, according to other sources on the border. The group, having fought a 19 month positional warfare, is now ready for a wholesale guerrilla warfare, Vice Chief of Staff Maj Gen Gun Maw recently told a meeting.

Aung Kyaw Zaw dismissed the defense ministry’s 28 January statement that the army was only defending itself against KIA attacks. “We may accept its arguments, if the army’s positions were falling one after another. We may accept them if the army were using only its Kachin-based 46 infantry battalions,” he said. “But in reality, it’s the other way round. The army was attacking and seizing Kachin positions one after another. They were also using additional units outside Kachin State, numbering 128 infantry battalions in all, against the KIA. Shells fell well inside Chinese soil. They were also launching 242 airstrikes, according to a concerned country’s radar station count. How could it be just a defensive campaign?”



Whatever the government does, according to him, is completely lost on the military. “Its mindset doesn’t have room for peace, only for military victory,” he says. “Their tri-annual meetings of top officers only speak of total annihilation of the rebels, not peace.”

Aung Kyaw Zaw is one of the surviving children of the late Gen Kyaw Zaw, one of the legendary Thirty Comrades formed by Aung San during WW II.

Meanwhile, under pressure from both Washington and Beijing, Naypyitaw is reportedly in a rush to hold another round of peace talks with the KIO. While some news agencies have reported what the venue will be Panghsang, the capital of the United Wa State Party / United Wa State Army (UWSP/UWSA), other conflicting reports say Panghsang would be the government’s last choice. “You can forget about Wa, UN mediation etc for the time being,” a source from Rangoon told SHAN.