BURMA

Burma Army Says Deadly Shelling of Rebels Was ‘Unintentional’

Fighting between the Kachin Independence Army, pictured, and the Burma Army peaked in early 2013 around Laiza in Kachin State. (Photo: Steve Tickner / The Irrawaddy)

Fighting between the Kachin Independence Army, pictured, and the Burma Army peaked in early 2013 around Laiza in Kachin State. (Photo: Steve Tickner / The Irrawaddy)

MYITKYINA, Kachin State — The Burma Army announced that yesterday’s deadly shelling of a rebel military academy was “unintentional,” speaking to reporters in Kachin State capital Myitkyina on Thursday.

Col. Than Aung, Minister of Border Security in Kachin State, said the Burma Army launched the artillery to “send a warning” after the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) allegedly attacked government troops while they were building a road near Mansi, which is about 70km south of where the shelling occurred.

The official said the Burma Army was unaware that officer training was in session at the academy and that the site was not their intended target.

“We feel very sorry for this loss of life, and we hope the peace process will not be affected,” he said.

La Nan, spokesperson for the KIA, denied the official’s claim that Kachin troops had attacked Burmese soldiers, adding that the Burma Army had not informed Kachin officials of the road construction.

“They are lying,” said La Nan.

Burmese troops launched several artillery missiles onto a military training academy near the KIA headquarters in Laiza shortly after noon on Wednesday. Twenty cadets were killed in the initial blast and three more have since succumbed to injuries. An additional 20 cadets are being treated for injuries in Laiza General Hospital.

The incident is believed to be the most deadly attack on Kachin troops since a 17-year ceasefire with the government broke down in mid-2011.

Wednesday’s attack, which La Nan referred to as “an ambush,” sent shockwaves through Burma’s ethnic communities, especially among their leadership. Local media reported that the government recently reaffirmed its commitment to securing a nationwide ceasefire agreement by the end of this year, though observers have questioned their confidence.

The KIA is one of only a few major ethnic armed groups that has not secured a bilateral ceasefire with the Burmese government. The KIO is currently engaged in peace negotiations with the government and is represented on the Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT), a 16-member ethnic bloc working toward a nationwide agreement.

Other members of the NCCT, most notably the group’s Vice Chairman Nai Hong Sar, have expressed concern that Wednesday’s attack “could greatly ruin trust-building” during an already fraught moment in the peace process.

Khun Oo Reh, General Secretary of the United Nationalities Federal Council—the nation’s most recent permutation of an ethnic coalition—refuted the military’s statement. Khun Oo Reh insisted that the act was “deliberate” and questioned why the government would undertake such a deadly attack just a week after global leaders wrapped up their visits to Burma, and days after announcing that constitutional amendment would not be implemented until after elections in late 2015.

“We believe that the attack was deliberate, and we wonder why they did it at this time,” said Khun Oo Reh, adding that the incident could become a serious obstacle on the course to securing lasting peace. “It is inappropriate to allow such a thing to happen while we are building trust.”


7 Responses to Burma Army Says Deadly Shelling of Rebels Was ‘Unintentional’

  1. The Kachins must declare independent and must ask the International Community mainly the China and US to protect the Genocidal act of the Democratic Guise monster Government and protect the Kachin independence on the Humanitarian ground. Kachins have been raped socially economically environmentally and militarily repeatedly by the successive Burmese Governments who has been reduced from the genuine Union in 1948 to the extreme Burmese Nationalism today with firm determination to delete the identity of all other ethnic groups and dilute them to the main stream Bama culture and religion.

  2. Yes, Burma military is intentionally destroying the peace and reconciliation process.Creating the internal instability mean Government more reline on military. That is the way former Gen Ne Win use to play before military coup.

  3. Who the Hell in the world will believe that! What are these Myanmar soldiers do there? I am a Chin. Chins, Kachins and Shans are founding members of the Union of Burma. Kachinland and Chinland were never parts of Burma until the British Colonial Government annexed them to British Burma. That was the reason Premier Churchill did not want to include Chinland and Kachinland along with the Burmese Independence. Shanland and Kayahland also were not parts of Burma when occupied. The reason why Karens, Mons and Rakhines were not invited to the Panglong Conference was : They were already subject to the Burmese kings. They were occupied along with the Burmese but the Shans, the Chins, the Kachins and the Kayahs were occupied separately. When the Union was founded, equal footing and equal opportunity were guaranteed by the agreement. But the foxy Burmese people betrayed us for the past many years. What happened yesterday was not accidental but just a premeditated insult. The Chins died there along with the Kachins at that assault. What are the Burmese soldiers doing in the Kachinland? We don’t need the Burmese or the Burmese help. Enough is enough. Crooked and wicked evil Burmese regime must withdraw their troops from our soils or you will see rivers of blood in your cities. Nay Pyi Taw and Rangoon must see their doomed days.

  4. Responsible officers must be put to death for the crime they intentionally committed.

  5. The Burma Army announced that yesterday’s deadly shelling of a rebel military academy was “unintentional,” Really? For the first time probably it was unintentional, How about the 2nd time, 3rd time, 4th time . Was it unintentional?

  6. “Col. Than Aung, Minister of Border Security in Kachin State, said the Burma Army launched the artillery to “send a warning” after the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) allegedly attacked government troops while they were building a road near Mansi, which is about 70km south of where the shelling occurred.”

    My opinion:
    For warning, bama notorious fox private army launch the artillery to people as their usual practice, taught from notorious DSA.

    For warning Burmese university students, paranoid Ne win killed the university students. For warning Buddhist monks, fox than shwe killed monks all over the Burma. For waring local Muslim, Aung thaung and fox killed local Muslim. For warning DSSK, fox than shwe, Mathar alias dead body aung thaung killed DASSK’s journalist.
    For warning Obama, aung thaung, thein sein, fox and ming aung hlaing killed Kachin and other ethnics for the sake of Chinese hydropower business in Kachin state. For warning China, mathar aung thaung will create Sino-Burmese clash in future with the help of idiot wirathu. Those bama military thugs look down Obama, China and UN with the slogan of faked nationalism or bamanization or Buddhism.
    All the replies in this column are unseen now.
    It seems to me that all the replies are blocked by Irrawaddy itself individually or else. If it is not done by the Irrawaddy, Irrawaddy should clarify what is happening in this reply column. Additionally,Irrawaddy must respect and keep all of our personal information strictly ( i.e. email address)

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