No End In Sight To Burma’s Ethnic War – OpEd


By Zin Linn

Ongoing civil war in Kachin State has been on the rise on various fronts. Burmese government armed forces expanded their offensive without listening the people’s calls for peace talks in Kachin State.

There was a skirmish between Burmese government soldiers and the Kachin Independence Army’s (KIA) last week. The Burma Army’s Light Infantry Battalion No. 386 based in Namma was attacked by KIA troops in two separate locations according to local eyewitnesses’ report. Three government soldiers were killed in action in northern Kachin state, where in recent months the worst hostilities has been taken place.

On November 3 one government soldier was killed and three others injured after an assault on a convoy near Lagawng Kahtawng village located between the Mogaung ferry station and Lawa. The attack was made by the Kachin Independence Army’s battalion No. 14 under the command of the Hugawng valley-based KIA’s 2nd Brigade and fighters from the People’s Army. The People’s Army is separate from the KIA and instead led by a civilian command under the Kachin Independence Organization’s Department of General Administration, the Kachin News Group (KNG) reported.

On December 4, two more government soldiers from the same military column were killed and many more injured after a mine planted by the KIA’s Battalion 14 exploded as a Burmese convoy travelled the well-known Stillwell Road (also known as Ledo Road). According to local witnesses, the explosion happened on the Lawa to Dumbung section of the road near the Sai Lin Hka stream.

The bodies of two government soldiers were buried nearby and injured soldiers were transported to Mogaung for treatment. In accordance with eyewitnesses’ report, before wounded soldiers were moved their uniforms were changed with civilians clothes, the local witnesses said.

A source close to the Burmese army said that the convoy under attack had been on its way to help five wounded government soldiers who had survived an attack on December 2 at Dai Kri. At some point in the Dai Kri attack, which occurred between Ma-U Pyin and Nam Ya in the Hpakant jade mining area, the Kachin resistance guerrillas killed five soldiers and seized a variety of guns and ammunition, KNG said.

Moreover, a surprise attack by the Kachin Independence Army in Mongkoe in Shan state killed at least 18 Burmese army personnel early Monday morning, according to eyewitnesses. The attack occurred in downtown Mongkoe.

Among the dead was Major Maung Maung Myo, the commander of the Infantry Battalion No. 129 based in Chin-shwe-hawy (Nyan-kun), the KIA confirmed. Although most of the slain were soldiers, two of the dead were members of the local police force, the KIA officers said.

Several housings and offices in the military compound of the Strategic Bureau were also destroyed during the raid, a local resident said. The battle of Mongkoe near the Sino-Burma border was the most recent clash between the KIA and the government forces in an increasingly violent conflict that began in June this year.

The KIA said the raid was lasted about 45 minutes and was carried out by KIA Battalions 36 and 38 under the 4th Brigade based in Northern Shan State. Corporal Sumlut Gam Seng of the KIA’s Battalion 36 died in action during the raid, the KIA official said.

During a military offensive against the KIA, Burmese armed forces shattered electricity power supply cables using artillery fire in Ga Ra Yang village on Nov. 1, referring KIO officials the Kachin News Group reported.

Since then, residents of Myitkyina, the capital city of Kachin state, have been living without electricity. The Burmese Army knowingly destroyed the power supply lines to the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) controlled area, said KIO officials.

While fighting between the KIO and the Burmese army continues, preliminary talks between the two sides don’t present much hope. Late last month representatives from the KIO met with Burmese government representatives in both Thailand and China to thrash out a path to peace.

Some analysts believe armed conflicts in Kachin State possibly will become wider since the Kachin resistance groups refuse to accept the junta’s new constitution which says Burma Army is the only military institution in the country.

The Kachin rebels also believe the government will not respect their basic rights or self-determination in accordance with the 1947 Panglong Agreement.

The KIO leadership has constantly declared that it will not make an armistice without facts that a truce will be pursued by crucial political dialogue.

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.

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