Intl Community ‘Fabricates News,’ Burma Military Says

KIA soldiers fire from the trenches at Hkaya Bum outpost on Jan. 20, when rebels endured a heavy Burmese assault despite the government’s ceasefire announcement the day before. (Photo: Steve Tickner / The Irrawaddy)

KIA soldiers fire from the trenches at Hkaya Bum outpost on Jan. 20, when rebels endured a heavy Burmese assault despite the government’s ceasefire announcement the day before. (Photo: Steve Tickner / The Irrawaddy)

In a rare statement, Burma’s Ministry of Defense has lashed out at international criticism of its actions in the Kachin conflict and it accused international organizations, embassies and media of “fabricating news” about the government and military.

In a press release on Tuesday the ministry defended Burma’s military—which is called the Tatmadaw—against reports that it had carried on its offensive against the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), despite the government announcement of a unilateral ceasefire on Jan. 19.

The army “halted the regional clearance operations in Lajanyan region since 6.00 am 19 January 2013. But it had to react for self-defense on KIA who came and attacked the areas where Tatmadaw columns are active,” according to the release.

It is the first time that Defense Ministry has issued a public statement, perhaps signaling that the Burma’s powerful military is becoming more media savvy.

The ministry said the Burmese army was following President Thein Sein’s order to only act in self-defense in Kachin State. It accused the KIA of committing atrocities, including destroying of lives and property of civilians, abduction, and striking a series of civilian targets, such as roads and bridges.

The ministry then hit back at foreign governments that have claimed that Burma’s military is conducting offensive operations, adding that they ignored KIA attacks.

“Some internal and external organizations, embassies and media issued fabricated news as to the armed conflict in Kachin State that caused misunderstanding [among] people over the government and the Tatmadaw,” it said.

“The Tatmadaw is desirous of making eternal peace through ceasefire by reducing the armed conflicts in Kachin State,” the ministry added.

The US, the EU and the UN have recently stated their concerns about the use of airpower and the failure of the government ceasefire in Kachin State. The US Embassy said on Jan. 17 that “media and NGO reports indicate that the Burmese Army continues a military offensive” despite the ceasefire announcement.

Kachin rebels on Tuesday rejected the Defense Ministry’s announcement, saying the military was not committed to ending the conflict.

Instead, it is trying to divide Burma’s ethnic groups by having peace deals with ten rebel groups, while trying to crush the Kachin, said James Lum Dau, the Kachin Independence Organization’s deputy chief of foreign affairs.

“It is like the government is giving carrots to other ethnic armed groups, while giving the stick to ethnic Kachin,” he said by telephone from Thailand.

Lum Dau said Burma’s army was not acting in self defense, but conducting a ruthless military offensive against the KIA

“They use artillery, jet fighters, helicopter gunships and chemical weapons to attack the KIA and Kachin civilians, but they say that they didn’t use those weapons,” he said.

Aung Kyaw Zaw, a Burmese military observer on the China-Burma border, who knows the ethnic armed rebel groups in the region, said the latest announcement simply continued the government’s denial of its military actions in Kachin State.

“They admitted the use of airstrikes only after the entire world knew about these acts,” he said.

The Kachin conflict began in June 2011 when a long-standing ceasefire broke down and violence escalated in late December when the military began using airstrikes against the rebels.

7 Responses to Intl Community ‘Fabricates News,’ Burma Military Says

  1. Bama parliament, arrogant sithar Hla swe said bama army should wipe out Kachin with the reference of ethnic cleansing Tamil by Sri Lanker government ( war criminals now). Not very long, the dirty military tells the another reason , self-defense of bama military thugs in Kachin lands’ nvasion. Bama military thugs think people around the world are naive. Blaming on International organizational influences are learned from Syria and Communist China.

  2. We did not receive the news from US Embassy or any international media. We ourselves know what is happening in Kachin State. We have brothers and sisters in Laiza area. Lashing out at Embassies will not make the world to believe what the Burmese junta is saying. Because, the KIA is not the only group which witnesses the junta’s assault on the Kachins. There are people from various media groups on the ground there. At the same time, there are non-Kachin ethnic groups including soldiers from ABSDF too. Trying to cover dead elephant with goat’s skin will not work, Min Aung Hlaing. All you had done to the Kachins have been vividly seen by the international communities.

  3. A series of evidences coming from the independent sources constituted the fact that Burma army committed crimes against humanity against ethnic Kachin in the northern corner of Burma by bombing with fighter jets, helicopter gunships, and artilleries against the Kachin civilians, and Burma army leaders responsible for the command of the bombardment in Kachin State must therefore be brought to justice for trial at the ICC in due course. The absence of prosecution against those responsible for crimes against humanity would surely encourage the future perpetrators to commit the same crime in the future, and more and more innocent people shall become victims of such inhuman crimes against humanity. Burma military leaders, including those retired, must know that justice for the victims of violences committed under their rule shall be brought to them when times come for them in due course.

    No doubt statements and news released by the international communities on crimes against humanity committed by Burma army and Burma regime in Kachin State are neutral, factual, consistent, independent, true, and fair, and the question to be raised now is not whether these crimes are fabricated or not, but how to bring those responsible to face justice at the ICC if we really want to see a lasting peace and stability restored in Burma.

  4. The Burmese Military has already done the unrepairable damages. A few retards will believe what they said. KIA attacks are simply ineffective defensive. The mines used by KIA are with poor quality which even can not ban the rails. Massive attacks and inhumane atrocities committed by the Government troops have been well recorded with witnesses. Kachins have full rights for their existence and to Govern their land.

  5. Burma military or so call Tatmadaw reputation is horrible in past,I do not see any better or change under reform.All the member of arm force are good citizen and patriotic soldier,only a few of top general using the military to protect their wealth and power to encounter the growing democratic reform.

  6. The Kachins have revealed and reaffirmed the true faces of the ruling elites.

  7. Any governments who trusts or believes Burmese government must be in line with Burmese government because everyone who is reasonable knows the government makes statement after statement with full of lies but only admittes when they get caught. But the problem is every statement they make is a lie. Not to be surprise, most leaders (including people’s leader) and all Asian nations keep their silence!

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