Kachin Fighting Concerns KNU, UWSA

Myanmar, Burma, Kachin, Kachin Independence Army, KIA, Karen, Karen National Union, KNU, Wa, UWSA, United Wa State Army, Mongla, ethnic, conflict, nationwide ceasefire, The Irrawaddy

Karen National Union chairman Saw Mutu Say Poe, left front, signs a joint statement with leaders of the National Democratic Alliance Army in Mong La, a stronghold for the NDAA, on April 28. (Photo: Karen National Union)

RANGOON — Leaders of the Karen National Union (KNU) and the United Wa State Army (UWSA) say they are concerned that an escalation of fighting in Kachin State could reverse the ongoing peace process between the government and ethnic armed groups.

A delegation from the KNU, one of the oldest ethnic rebel groups in the country, recently met with a delegation from the UWSA, the biggest ethnic armed group in the country. Both groups have signed ceasefire deals with the government.

“We are both concerned about the renewal of conflict in Kachin State. We are not happy because such conflict will reverse the entire process of peace….meaning the country can go back to war,” KNU spokesman Saw Tamula, who joined the delegation led by KNU chairman Saw Mutu Say Poe, told The Irrawaddy on Friday.

“We totally disagree with the renewal of fighting. The conflict needs to be solved through political means,” he added.

In recent weeks, the Burmese army has launched offensive operations in Kachin State’s Mansi Township which have reportedly left about 5,000 people homeless, including 1,000 who have fled across the border into China. They join about 100,000 others who have been displaced by fighting between the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the Burmese army since 2011.

Top leaders of the 30,000 strong UWSA, including the group’s deputy chief Xiao Minliang and its deputy general secretary Pauk Yuri, attended the meeting with the KNU last week on Saturday in Panghsang, the headquarters of the UWSA on the China-Burma border.

In addition to expressing concerns about ongoing fighting in Kachin State, UWSA leaders reportedly told the KNU delegation that they would not give up their demands for an autonomous state. The UWSA is currently recognized as an autonomous region, but has asked the Burmese government to classify it as its own distinct state.

“They said their region has been isolated for a long time,” Saw Tamula said, adding that the Burmese government had not made efforts to develop the Wa area. “[Burmese dictator] Ne Win never visited the region and never provided any assistance. During the era of the communists, the regime only waged war, but they didn’t build better lives for the people.

“They said they are not demanding an autonomous state to split from the union. They want to manage and build their communities by themselves, but they aren’t talking about secession.”

The KNU delegation also met on Monday with leaders of an ethnic Mongla armed group known as the National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA), which is 5,000 soldiers strong. The meeting in a Mongla-controlled area of northeastern Shan State was attended by Lin Mingxian (also known as Sai Lin or Sai Leun), a long-time leader of the NDAA.

Leaders of both parties released a joint statement saying that ending ethnic conflicts between the government and non-state armed ethnic groups was key to building peace in Burma.

“The ethnic conflicts should be discussed politically and get solved peacefully. We agreed that there should be dialogue followed by the nationwide ceasefire accord,” said Saw Tamula.

Members of the Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT), an umbrella ethnic organization which represents 16 ethnic armies, held a meeting in Chiang Mai, Thailand, on Monday and Tuesday, where they proposed another round of nationwide ceasefire talks with the government in the last week of May.

4 Responses to Kachin Fighting Concerns KNU, UWSA

  1. This Government is not sincere and not brave enough to deal and give in with the political rights, but to split you to pieces and then wash you away. you have no other option, but to establish the Union of the Ethnic Nationals of SEA (UENOS) separately.

  2. All ethnics must send their soldiers and weapons to the KIA. Bullying the Kachins is bullying all the ethnics. The color of the regime is clear. Ethnics will experience the same thing if they do not bow to the regime. So, the ethnics must pick a choice. To bow to the regime or to fight with the KIA. Peace Talk must be stopped until regime is showing its seriousness for the genuine democracy. We asked them for gold and we cannot be satisfied with copper. We do not ask them their daughters but we do ask them to return the things the regime robbed from us back.

  3. All ethnics should be united as it is your last chance to fight against the bama private fox army at the end. All ethnics can fight against bama fox private army anytime, any reason and any where if one ethnic attacked by fox bama private army. The cease-fire agreement is valueless and the same as panglong agreement. Giving your incentives to all ethnics are another strategy to divide and rule. The next target is you all one by one by bama military thugs. If you all win back your land and natural resources, you all will be peaceful life. See the example, how fox is still killing own local Muslim. The next target is yours, all ethnics. Late U win tin said don’t trust the thief, fox than shwe and his men.
    Fox will sign others and kill one by one to have a tempo for his survival time. Fox and all bama military thugs use that kinds of strategy decade and decade ago (divide and rule).

  4. Min aung hlaing is the incarnation of than shwe. Myanmar is no way near to democracy. Multi – party system means nothing as long as free and fair election do not happen. The tone and words from tin aye say a lot. Every corner of the government is controlled by usdp. 25% seats in the floors of hlutdaw occupied by non – elected soldiers. Who in the world will say that myanmar is a democratic nation? If you are not dumb enough, you will not call myanmar a democratic country. Military general are covering themselves with sheepskin but they are still wolves. So, all of us need to be concerned with regime which keeps attacking the kachins on their own kachin soil.

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