Govt, KIO Agree to Meet, as Conflict Claims More Civilian Victims

A woman comforts Jangmaw La San, the son of Jangmaw Labram Lu, who was killed by a Burmese army artillery shell on Jan. 29, 2013.

Two more civilians were killed by shelling in Kachin State on Tuesday, the same day that negotiators from both sides in the ongoing conflict in northern Burma agreed to hold informal talks in Panghsang, the headquarters of the United Wa State Army (UWSA).

Aung Myint, a spokesperson for the UWSA, confirmed on Wednesday that leaders of the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) had accepted an offer from government peace negotiators to meet in the Wa stronghold, located in Shan State near Burma’s border with China.

Asked for comment, James Lum Dau, the KIO’s deputy chief of foreign affairs, said that he had heard about the meeting plan, but couldn’t confirm when or where it would take place.

It will be the first time that the two sides have met since the Burmese government army intensified its offensive against the KIO’s armed wing, the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), in the final week of last year. Their most recent meeting took place in Ruili, China, last October.

The news comes amid reports that shelling near the Kachin State capital Myitkyina claimed the lives of two Kachin civilians and injured three others late Tuesday.

Sources in Myitkyina said that the village of Mayang, in Mokaung Township, came under heavy artillery fire starting at around 7 pm on Tuesday.

“The shelling lasted about an hour and the mother of two children and her eight-year-old son were killed as they were preparing to take shelter in a bunker. Her husband and baby were also injured,” said Bauk Ja, an MP from the National Democratic Force political party.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a source in Mayang said that Burmese army artillery battalion 371 fired a total of 11 60- and 120-mm shells at the village, killing 27-year-old Jangmaw Labram Lu and her son Gam Maw, 8.

Labram Lu’s husband, 35-year-old Jangmaw Awng Nu, and two-year-old son La San were also injured, as was her 95-year-old father-in-law Jangmaw La Doi.

This is the second reported case so far this month of civilians falling victim to Burmese army shelling. On Jan. 14, three people were killed and several others injured when an artillery shell landed in a residential area on the outskirts of Laiza, where the KIO has its headquarters.

More than 100,000 civilians have been displaced by the conflict in Kachin State since it began in June 2011. Many of them have taken shelter in camps set up by the KIO around Laiza.

Since the end of last year, the Burmese military has made Laiza the focus of its intensifying offensive against the Kachin rebels, using airstrikes to take control of key positions near the KIA stronghold.

The KIA is the second largest ethnic armed group in Burma with an estimated 15,000 fighters.

4 Responses to Govt, KIO Agree to Meet, as Conflict Claims More Civilian Victims

  1. It’s time both sides should realize that fighting only bring deaths, destruction, grieves, and creates more hatred. It has been proved that the Burmese military will never completely defeat or crush the Kachin or the Karen or other ethnic groups. Stop fighting. Start loving.

  2. Hopefully Burmese Government and KIA will find common ground for peace and reconciliation first step. Both sides must be stop fighting and sorting out the differences between both parties by dialogue for sake of all Burmese (ethnics) innocent peoples who live in Kachin state. Fighting each other can not reconcile and only forgiveness and love will achieve last long reconciliation between all Burmese ethnics.
    KIO should be directly negotiation with Burmese Government rather than demanding for negotiation with United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC). I believe it’s unrealistic because Karen, Shan, WA and other minority ethnics’ armed organization is dealing with Burmese Government for it own ethnic group and no group is negotiation with Burmese Government as representative of UNFC. Basically UNFC is not united as it name said.
    Also Burmese Government can not ask KIA to disarm because it’s too early to get trust between Government and ethnics’ Army.
    We must get truce between Government Army and KIA first. Mistrust between Government and KIA must be sorting out on the table and not in the battle field.
    If you love your country and peoples and then Army and KIA must stop fighting and allow transporting foods and medical supplies for civilians in Kachin state.

  3. We want to see a genuine political dialogue taking place between the KIA and Burma regime, resulted in the federal democratic system being restored in Burma, and those involved in the dialogue table must with respect and love for the people and the country seek a culture of peaceful coexistence without privilege and domination. The KIA must not reach the same ceasefire with the regime at the expense of the political rights for the Kachin, and they must keep the principles of the founding fathers of the KIA.

    The KIA leaders know for sure that Burma army, the cronies, and the Chinese can no longer exploit the natural resources in their homeland after the war broke out in 2011, suggesting that the KIA has now been able to protect the homeland of the Kachin from being exploited by the outsiders including Tay Zar, who paid for the war against the Kachin.

    Hla Swe made an emotional statement at the parliament, comparing the KIA to the LTTE, and he didn’t understand that the Tamils emigrated from the Tamil Nadu State of India to the northern corner of Sri Lanka whereas the Kachin State has been the homeland of the Kachin since time immemorial. His knowledge about the world politics is below the level of what we call “general knowledge.”

    He must prepare himself and expect a bullet coming from the ethnic armies sooner rather than later in the future.

  4. US and UK have the Historic duties to protect Kachins who fiercely helped the British in the WWI and Allies in WWII.
    UK fully understand that the Kachins are Independent and the Land of Kachin was not under the reign of Burmese King as the British faced fierce attack of Kachins when the British troops navigating to Bhamo in 1885. the British had to fight with Kachins from 1885 to 1935 fiercely to cover all Kachins. The Large British Cemetery in Bhamo (untill 1980s) is the witness (now demolished by the Burmese Government who do not want to keep such evidence).
    The Americans know that without the Kachins’ help, there would be heavy lost to the allies to push the Japanese from Burma. No single Burmese fought with the allies in pushing out the Japanese from Burma. Victories over Japanese (including BIA) in northern Burma was declared on 25th March 1945 in Bhamo (in Kachin Padang Manau). BIA started to betray the Japanese Imperial Army on 27th March 1945 who came to Burma by the Invitation of BIA, it was the ugliest historic record of betray over its Once Teacher and National Savior purely to take side with the winners (Arch Enemies).
    With the heavy crashing of the Burmese Government over Kachins who are helpless under the military superiority of the Burmese Brutal Government who willingly uses Air force, Strategic Big Guns and the Special reserved troops over Kahins with pure intention of absolute Elimination Genocidal War, The US and UK have started to find the solutions of all options. Chinese Government has just realized the magnificent of the Kachin Problems by potential involvement of the west, hence, start to take action on the Problems of his next door.
    Kachins who are the Union Co-Founders have never been treated equally by their bigger counterpart Burman, their sacrifices to the Union have never been honored, Kachin has been colonized destroyed and dumped by the Majority Burman which are the main cause of Today’s Problem. The Burmese Government must respect and Honor the Historic Promises and Agreements with Kachins, the Status of Full Autonomy of Kachin State and The Rights of Kachin Sub-State under Shan.

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