By Zin Linn
United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) central executive committee issued an ultimatum dated 9 May, warning Burmese military to stop military offensives in Kachin State by June 10, 2012 at Thai-Burma border.
The statement said, “if the Bamah Tatmadaw does not stop its transgression and military offensives in Kachin State by June 10, 2012, UNFC members, who have agreed ceasefire with U Thein Sein government, have decided to review the peace process and future programs, including the preliminary ceasefire agreements reached,”.
The war on the Kachin Independence Organization and its military wing Kachin Independence Army by the Burmese army is basically a fratricide for the sake of protecting foreign business interests, a KIO high ranking official who wants to be anonymous told Shan Herald Agency for News (S.H.A.N.).
“The (hydropower) project was launched in the area under our control and when it was completed General Thein Sein, who was prime minister at that time, presided over at the opening ceremony,” he said.
Even if Burmese President is often saying candidly that his government is going after a peaceful motherland, combating against Kachn rebels on the ground by his armed forces is a sign of antagonism. After 17-year period of ceasefire, armed conflict between KIA and Burmese military took up again on June 9, last year.
As reported by Kachinland News , severe fighting keeps going unabated in Kachin and Shan State despite calls from inside and outside of Burma to pull out government troops from KIO’s territory. For instance, on June 16, a battle took place between KIA’s 38th Battalion under 4th Brigade and government armed forces in Naw-Gu near Mung-Lung in northern Shan State. On the same day, KIA soldiers of 10th Battalion under 1st brigade encountered a combined force of Pangwa-based BGF soldiers and Burmese government’s troops from 37th LIR and 382nd LIB near Lagwi-Hpare.
According to Kachin News Group, signs of more fighting have come into view in Kachin State after government troops have blocked Stilwell Road, also known as Ledo Road, linking Myitkyina and Danai. On 17 June, the Burmese army blocked the Stilwell Road and controlled the traveling of civilians. Moreover, the government reinforced its military positions in Hpa-kant Township.
Last month, the government suspended all jade mining operations in Hpa-kant Township. Besides, it warned civilians to return to their homes by May 30. Since then, severe skirmishing between the KIA and Burmese military take place in the area.
Blockade of the Ledo road and other places in the district generate troubles for residents’ livelihood. Burma Army’s battalions, Infantry No. 86, IB No. 238 and Light Infantry Battalion No. 318, based around Danai Township, have been showing daily military exercises outskirts of the town.
They are practicing small arms and artillery. The government soldiers are also laying land mines in the area. Martial law has been imposed and residents are not allowed to leave their homes or farms, Kachin News Group said.
In the face of repetitive meetings between the KIO and the government peacemaking team, hostility has been going on a daily basis since the government violated a 17-year ceasefire accord in June last year.
On 30 April, President Thein Sein received the UN Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-moon at the Presidential Palace in Naypyitaw. At that time he said that he has pledged to make more efforts for gaining a full-grown democracy in the country. He continued telling two processes for peace and stability – political stability and the process for elimination of internal conflicts – in the country.
Alternatively, Burma’s Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi highlights points on Burma’s reform in her Nobel lecture on 16 June.
“My party, the National League for Democracy, and I stand ready and willing to play any role in the process of national reconciliation. The reform measures that were put into motion by President U Thein Sein’s government can be sustained only with the intelligent cooperation of all internal forces: the military, our ethnic nationalities, political parties, the media, civil society organizations, the business community and, most important of all, the general public,” Nobel laureate said.
On the other hand, Burma’s Union Parliament will start again its fourth session in Nay Pyi Taw on 4 July, according to state media on 12 June. Remarkably, it will be the first to be attended by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi together with 43 MPs of her party.
As President has expressed his two processes for peace and stability in the country, apart from the sectarian unrest in Rakhine State, the topic of ending Kachin war seems to be another pressing issue in the next parliament session. Thus, before 4 July session, Thein Sein should think how he can stop his army’s ongoing war in ethnic areas. Ending war in Kachin State will be helpful to build peace and stability in the nation.
Ethnic people may not trust President if his armed forces may not stop committing crimes against humanity in the undeveloped war-torn ethnic neighborhoods.
Political analysts and observers have been deeply concerned about widespread war in Kachin State. Now, people have been blaming the Thein Sein government for breaking ceasefire agreement with ethnic KIO.
The regime’s miscalculation of handling the Kachin issue seems to be pushing the country into an abysmal gorge of tragedies. Burma’s new military offensives on the Kachin, Karen and Shan armed groups will lead the nation into a severe poverty trap.