ISSN 2330-717X

Burma’s War In Kachin State Damages Its Reform Perspective – OpEd


By Zin Linn

President Thein Sein quasi-civilian government has occasionally declared that its reform course will not be reversed to rearward track.

The fact is that Aung San Suu Kyi has entered parliamentary politics under the controversial constitution which was unilaterally drawn by the previous junta. Subsequently, the victory of Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy party at the by-elections last month was welcomed by the United States and European Union as a sign of advancement en route for democracy. Her attendance at parliament on 2 May represents the forward motion of transforming Burma.

Anyhow, the US and the EU should not focus only on the progress inside the showground of the parliaments. They should also give attention to the civil war in Kachin state. Currently, the government has been handling unfairly not only upon the Kachin rebels but also on the Kachin natives.

The government shows no sympathy towards 100,000 refugees plus IDPs along the Sino-Burma border adjacent to Kachin rebels’ area due to brutal military offensives launched by Burma Army. Those victims have to face terrible situation for their survival since the monsoon rain will start next month.

Then again, Burma Army has been continuously deploying more and more battalions around the headquarters vicinity of the Kachin Independence Army, military-wing of the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO). It looks as if government’s armed forces have a plan to launch a clean-up war.

According to local news sources, warfare has increased relentlessly for the past couple of months though the two sides met in Ruili for talks last March. Kachin peace delegation and Burmese government have a preliminary agreement to reduce troops in conflict areas during Ruili meeting.

On the contrary, the state-run New Light of Myanmar reported improperly that KIA (Kachin) armed group planted a mine at the side of a RC-type bridge on Shwe Road in Eden region (4) in Tatkon Ward, Myitkyina in Kachin State blasted at 6:00 am on 5 May. Two police got injured from second blast, about 50 feet far from the first explosion, while they were doing clearance.

Similarly, the KIA’s mine exploded the Hilux motorcar carrying bags of rice on Moemauk-Lwijye Road at 8:00 am of 4 May, and it claimed the bus-conductor’s life and left the driver injured, the New Light of Myanmar said. Besides, the newspaper also reported, another mine blast hit the bridge No.677/0 on Mandalay-Myitkyina Railroad near Khamti at 7:25 pm on 4 May.

The KIA armed group has been committing destructive acts such as destroying roads and bridges, opening fire on villages with heavy weapons and killing innocent civilians and service personnel, the state-run paper said one-sidedly.

But, the paper never published about the government army’s human rights abuses such as the killings, lootings, rapes, burning the villages, forced-laboring of civilians and recruiting child-soldiers.

But, the newspaper gives misinformation that the Tatmadaw (army) and national races armed groups make peace each other, the public willingly has a wish for all armed groups including KIA armed group to live together in peace.

Quite the opposite, the Kachin warfare continues as Burma Army has reinforced outsized troops in areas on the brink of Kachin administrative command center Laiza and former headquarters Pa Jau during the past weeks, according to Kachinland News. Yet, the war between KIA and government armed forces enters nearly a year without signs of decreasing.

Despite reducing clashes, a battle took place near Ban Dang village between KIA’s 5th Battalion and Burmese Army’s 141st LIR on May 4 at 11 am. One Burmese Army soldier was reportedly killed in this battle, referring frontline source, Kachinland News reported.

Furthermore, on May 4, KIA soldiers of 1st Battalion under 3rd Brigade fought against Burmese Army’s 47th LIB at Hka Wan Bang junction. KIA’s mobile battalion deterred the advance of about 200 Burmese soldiers from 105th LIB and 386th LIR between U Ga Shan and Lisu Pa Jau on May 5 at 7:30am.

Another front in northern Shan State, a fierce battle occurred between KIA’s 9th Battalion under 4th Brigade and government armed forces on Lashio-Muse road between Nam Gut and Hu Nawng on May 4. One Burmese soldier was killed and 4 wounded in this battle, quoting frontline source Kachinland News said.

On May 5, KIA’s 36th Battalion under 4th Brigade also fought against an unknown government military contingent. Two Burmese soldiers were killed and 4 wounded in this battle, said KIA source.

A 17-year-old truce between Burmese Government and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) broke down on 9 June 2011 sending several thousands of refugees and IDPs along the Sino-Burma border alongside Kachin rebels’ area due to harsh military offensives launched by Burma Army.

Burmese peacemaking team and Kachin peace delegates met quite a few times since fighting resumed on June 9, 2011 as government armed forces hit KIA’s Bum-seng post near Tar Pein Hydropower Plant. Three meetings at Laja yang, near Laiza, one at Chiang Mai in Thailand and another three meetings were held at Ruili City in China. However, no substantial agreement has been achieved, Kachinland News said.

The two sides have a preliminary agreement to trim down troops in war zones during Ruili meeting in last March. KIO has over and over again asked Burmese government to pull out its troops to provide evidence for future peace meetings.

Burmese government asked KIO to meet in Kachin State capital Myitkyina last month. But KIO rejected the offer to meet because it is not suitable since fighting intensifies. Recently, KIO asked Burmese government to meet at Prang Ngawn village of Loi Je Township, but Burmese government didn’t respond to KIO’s proposal.

If the government is straightforward, the inhumane war in Kachin State can stop simply. But, government seems unsympathetic towards its own people and it turns a deaf ear to people’s sobs. Without ending war against the minority Kachin people, the US and EU ought to pay no heed to the so-called democratic reform run by the quasi-civilian government of Burma.

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Asian Correspondent

Asian Correspondent is an English-language liberal news, blogs and commentary online newspaper serving all of the Asia-Pacific region. The website covers asian business, politics, technology, the environment, education, new media and Asia society issues.

3 thoughts on “Burma’s War In Kachin State Damages Its Reform Perspective – OpEd

  • May 7, 2012 at 4:51 am

    media free in myanmar is not yet work ?

    how come news paper only for burmese military ?
    Long way to go for myanmar to be democracy country.

  • May 8, 2012 at 12:25 am

    The reform in Burma is truly a master class in how to change the apprarance without really giving away.

    The Burman dominant system is non-negotiable. The “peace” so far and indeed before has been various business deals where the public resources are truly sqaundered on arms and fightings resulting in immense, irrevesible environmental damage with the public getting worse of for “Peace”.

    Current peace deals are also more of the same. And only principled armed group is now getting truly eliminated using maximal forces of a seasoned military while the world looks on without even a “tuk-tuk”.

  • May 8, 2012 at 9:44 am

    It was said that KIO does not represent majority of Kachin people. They are just a group of armed militants doing all kinds of businesses for their own benefits while majority of Kachin people suffer.


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