By Zin Linn
Officials from the Kachin Independence Organization’s armed wing have confirmed that on January 4 their fighters shot down a Burmese army transport helicopter in northern Kachin State, Kachin News Group said on Friday.
The pilot of the Russian-built helicopter died in the smash, after crash landing in a paddy field near Sinlum Bum village in N’Mawk (Momauk) Township, said Zau Seng a Kachin Independence Army (KIA) officer stationed on the front line.
Zau Seng said that after KIA fighters fired their small arms at the helicopter, it was severely damaged and also failed attempt to drop off supplies at a government military-base near Mu Bum Mountain.
The transport helicopter started generating smoke after repeatedly being hit by machine gunfire from troops from the KIA’s 3rd Brigade, eyewitnesses told the Kachin News Group said. The helicopter crashed several miles away from the Mu Bum base during a visible retreat to its home base in Manmaw.
The remains of the helicopter were discovered the following day by local villagers.
Fighting between the KIA and government forces has continued unabated for nearly seven months, despite President Thein Sein having instructed the army to cease the Kachin offensive on December 10 2011. This begs the question why the commander-in-chief, Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, has turned a deaf ear to the president. Is it a trick played by president and the army boss? Or, is it a band of soldiers against the president’s reform plan?
In his message to the 64th Anniversary Independence Day, President Thein Sein says: “Unity and cooperation of the entire national people are instrumental to building the Republic of the Union of Myanmar into a modern, developed democratic nation. If national solidarity disintegrated, the goal of democracy could not be achieved.”
While the president said yes to amity and unison among ethnic groups on 4 January Independence Day, his armed forces have been fighting fiercely against the Kachin Independence Organization in the Kachin State up to date. It is this inconsistency from the president in his the regime that has been resulted in war launching against the Kachin rebels in full swing.
Although Burma’s military-backed government has kept quiet on the number of Burmese soldiers killed in action during the Kachin offensive, KIA sources say that the Burmese army has sustained its worst losses in more than two decades. Some experienced Burmese military observers have supported a claim that the Burma Army’s Generals take no notice of the safety of their own badly trained recruit soldiers.
The latest series of armed clashes in the Kachin state have prompted observers to believe that the futile war in the border regions may not be preventable.
The Thein Sein government seems to be uninterested in ending hostilities upon the Kachin Independence organization. So, it is obvious that the government is not heading towards a democratic system. As an alternative, it attempts to acquire and retain the Kachin State in a malicious way.
In a recent interview to The Associated Press, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi made a comment: “I am concerned about how much support there is in the military for changes. In the end that’s the most important factor, how far the military are prepared to cooperate with reform principles.”
Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi said that the country’s long-lasting ethnic conflicts is predicting the more fundamental issue in due course; since there is no ethnic unification it will be very hard for all to build a strong democracy.