Kachin War Strays to Chinese Soil

A soldier from the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) holds a rocket shell on Monday, as the government army reportedly continued air attacks on key KIA bases in Lajayang region of Burma’s northernmost state. (Photo: John Sanlin)

Ethnic minority rebels say the government army is heating up its offensive in northern Burma, with artillery shelling from jet fighters and helicopters reportedly landing on the border with China.

Speaking from the frontlines on Wednesday, Burmese war photographer John Sanlin said two rocket shellings landed Monday evening on the border with China’s Yunnan Province, just opposite the town of Laiza in northern Kachin State, where ethnic rebels from the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) make their headquarters.

Hla Seng, a soldier from the All Burma Students’ Democratic Front (ABSDF), an armed group fighting alongside Kachin rebels, confirmed that the shelling had landed on Chinese soil on Monday.

He said the fighting was continuing on Wednesday morning, with the government army sending four helicopter gunships, including Mi-24s, to fire on KIA bases at about 11 am in Lajayang, a strategic region about 11 miles from Laiza.

“They [the government army] have been attacking us non-stop by using the planes for six days. Now, they’re heating up the war by using jet fighters, helicopter gunships, artillery weapons and chemical weapons,” he told The Irrawaddy in a phone call from the region, with gunfire heard clearly in the background.

On Tuesday, he said, jet fighters and helicopters attacked KIA bases in Lajayang and Nasam Yang regions three times.

The KIA first reported air attacks by the government army last week on Friday morning.

A top government official denied on Wednesday that it had launched an air offensive. In an interview with London-based BBC, Zaw Htay, director of the President’s Office in Naypyidaw, said the government army had not used the fighter jets or helicopter gunships for military purposes, but only to resupply troops on the frontlines.

“It’s just propaganda,” Hla Seng said of Zaw Htay’s statement, adding that the air strikes on KIA bases had been ongoing for six days.

“The more casualties and injuries they [the government army] suffers, the more troops and planes they send,” he said.

The war has escalated in Kachin State since a 17-year-old ceasefire broke down between the government army and the KIA, which is fighting for greater autonomy and basic rights.

Ethnic minority leaders and government officials have met for peace talks but have yet to reach any tangible results.

The conflict has made international headlines in recent months and is increasingly drawing attention on social media websites such as Facebook, where Kachins have posted comments about the attacks and their suffering.

Lamai Gum Ja, a Kachin national who leads the Kachin Peace-Talk Creation Group, condemned the use of air strikes in a civil war.

“I think it’s inappropriate,” he said. “It [the air strikes] can harm the peacemaking process too.”

The air strikes began last week after the government army ordered the KIA to vacate a strategic route to Lajayang.

Brig-Gen Tun Tun Naung, a northern commander of the government army, sent an order on Dec. 23 for Kachin fighters to leave the route by Dec. 25, saying government soldiers would be deployed there to work on administrative processes.

But the KIA refused to respect the order, keeping its position on the route to protect its nearby headquarters.

About 100,000 Kachin civilians have been displaced since the ceasefire broke down, taking refuge in camps on the Sino-Burma border.

The government has prevented international aid groups from helping internally displaced persons (IDPs) in rebel-held territory, and the United Nations has been unable to investigate the latest conditions on the ground.

On Tuesday, hundreds of Burmese activists in Rangoon also launched a protest in the heart of Burma’s biggest city, calling for an end to the war.

16 Responses to Kachin War Strays to Chinese Soil

  1. This killing in earnest (or trying desperately for it) is to flood the ancestral Kachin heartland with that Dam, and to get the Chinese the PIPEs and Rails through, right?

    So Bamar mercenary Sit-tut is doing its stupid, clumsy assaults which always end up with deaths of the Burmese youth to fertilize Kachin Jungle. This time it is on larger scale with Russian/ Belarus airplanes and helicopters which give excellent pictures and video’s but not really effective, right?So why not the Chinese who congenitally cannot understand any thing other than money, power and killing force in individual level as well as national level try to help crush these uppity Kachins with characteristic ruthlessness and cruelty as well?

    American led international business communities want Chinese to win. So they want Thein Sein fronted, Aung San Suu Kyi supported Sit-tut, their newest best friend advised by no less than the American Deputy Secretary of Defence on “counter-insurgency measures” to win. Right? Soros of Rothschilds out fit as well as Aung San Suu Kyi’s buddy and her husband’s fellow Jew is trying to bribe the KIA leadership to make things easy.

    So why the hell any one would utter a word for these uneducated, poor and inconsequential Kachins being mercilessly butchered and driven out?

    The Fancy New Year celebrating Bamar are now so well corrupted as a nation beyond hope that they want BUSINESS/ Money/ anything “western” at all cost. They can’t wait to get their dirty little paws on money for all the beer and wine now that “The Five Precepts” have left this evil land where monks exhort to uphold and worship “Law-ba and Maw-ha as well as Daw-tha”. They would pray to get rid of Kachin as quickly as possible as well. But they will be next in line before they find out yet again that the Business is not for them but for the usual crowd! By then it will be too late.

    Peace in Kachin Land is only if all Kachins die. So never!

    Inaction of the UN will be well remembered for generations.

  2. TADMADAW!!!
    Please root out these KIA pirates as fast as possible. People in the Kachin state has suffered enough. Don’t stop until Liza is captured. All the brothers and sisters including both Shan and Kachin, its time to kick KIA ass once and for all. Kudos to Tadmadaw. Long live our Union and long live our Tadmadaw.

  3. Please root out this dubious KIA extremist as soon as possible. All the peple in Kachin state are sick and tired of KIA looter. Must finish their hide out including Liza. Tadmadaw wnat to be civalize with them, but they are not civilized people. They are terrorist. Look at how Shans are suffering. Our Shans are not your disposible items. We are as human as Kachins. Its time to end KIA barbarians. Tadmadaw please root them out as soon as possible. Politicians just talk. But everyone knows that talking is much earsier than dealing with terrrorists. Don’t stop until KIA mercenaries are finish. Peope in Kachin state are supporting behind yu all.Long live our union and long live Tadmadaw.

  4. The government for attacking on civilians, withholding or blocking humanitarian assistance to displaced persons should have legal repercussions. It is tragic that the International community seem to content to look the other way.

  5. The ABSDF’s soldier HleSeng accused army of using chemical weapons? Again? Ha..ha..ha. Come.on,man.This kind of media tactic is too old to attract the international awareness. Its no more work after US invasion into Iraq under the same type of accusation. Please advise him to use the another idea of accusation( if he is still alive under the army’s shelling).

    kyaw thein

  6. Bruce Roberts,Chair CRDB (WA)

    Ignore the two comments by the self confessed barbarians who want to justify the murder committed bu the so called ‘Tatmadaw” The Tatmadaw is there to protect all the ethnics ,not eliminate them. Thats ethnic cleansing punishible by death at the International Court of Justice at the Hague.Hear,hear.

  7. Blatant lies out of Zaw Thay’s mouth is proof of dishonest Thein Sein’s government. Burmese military is composed with uneducated and idiot people. No one with the right mind will join this military service. Thein Sein is the puppet president of Than Shwe who put Min Aung Hlaing above Thein Sein. What kind of democracy is Burma seeing today? We haven’t seen democracy in Burma at all. Thein Sein and his corrupt associates go to Hell!

  8. Yes! I want to hear these ethnic cleansing terrorist KIO, KIA and ABSDF murderers brought to justice in International Court of Justice at the Hauge. Why International community is keeping silent on these scumbags. They are raping, torturing and killing ethnic Shans at their own will. These terrorist has history of killing its own people and they are assisted by the ruthless ABSDF murderers. KIA has a history of killing its own leaders and ABSDF murdered their own comrades brothers ruthlessly. What do you expect from them? Give them medal of honor for them? No! We should give them medal of HORROR. Their injustice killing of other ethnic is not documented because nobody want to document these. But ask all these local people,especially Shans ethnic, they will tell you horrific endless story of raping, torturing and injustice killing.
    ABSDF is misusing students name and their leaders make money and international sympathy. Most of their leaders are in West enjoying their asylum status. Enough grandpa students. You all are not students anymore. You all are nothing more than KIA associate mercenaries who will support their masters for their own survival. ABSDF already loose touch with the whole country and now they are lost in Jungle. If you want be part of political community in our future union, please clean your bloodstain hands first. Confess and apologize to the people. Take all responsibility for what you all did. And try to serve the people honestly. Otherwise stay where you belongs and don’t come close to political activities in Myanmar.
    For the KIA part, the whole country is coming forward to the government initiated peace talk. Everybody agreed including oldest of all KNU and you don’t want to be part of it. What do you want? Who are you all? Everyone in the country know that you all still want lucrative border trade Jade mining , illegal timbering and so on. Then you will cry all of resources were taken by outsiders. Enough crying ok!!!You cannot lead or unite the whole country,everybody know but you don’t want to follow majority also. If you don’t have capacity to lead, you have to follow. Otherwise you will be forced to follow or you will be dragged along the path.
    To all brothers and sisters in Kachin state, it is really heart broken to see what is happening in your place. All these bloodshed will stop, unless KIA come to peace table. Please persuade them to come to negotiation table. People power can do it happen. Otherwise these heartbroken bloodshed will go on. May year of 2013 bring peace to Kachinland and god bless you all.

    • Shan lay
      I am aware that you appear in the Irrawaddy on 29-12-2012 with your opinion to defame KIO and KIA. See the following you wrote in Irrawaddy on 29-12-2012 without any concrete reason why you do defame KIA/KIO. i do not see and you do not mention that KIA and KIO raped Shan ethnic as well on 29-12-2012.
      In this column , all of the sudden, you start to tell the story of how KIA raped Shan ethnic so you , Shan dislikes KIA. Why? Many will think it is a propaganda news (make-up story) from you when you hear about the news from India who takes serious action on rapist. You might know that than shwe is the most cruel bama king to order raping reward to his poor bama soldiers upon all Burmese ethnics. I want your comment on than shwe’s raping rewards which might be applied on Shan ethnic as well. Or you are not Shan.

      Update: KIA Under Heavy Attack Near Headquarters
      By SAW YAN NAING / THE IRRAWADDY| December 28, 2012 |
      Shan Lay December 29, 2012 – 9:09 am
      Dear readers!
      KIA and KIO are the biggest obstacle for the peaceful future federal union. Government has already agree whatever they ask. Only the elite KIA who are enjoying the life don’t want lasting peace because peace will take away their benefits. Just because these cowards don’t want to come to peace negotiation table doesn’t mean that they are honest. Remember in the Kachin state, the Kachins are the minority. They are not majority. Kachin represents only 35% of the population in Kachin land. Not only Shans and Bamar also Kachins themselves are sick and tired of those selfish cowards. It is really the time to reprimand the KIA. Just because the Tadmadaw consider KIA as mis behaving little brother, otherwise KIA would have been wiped out much earlier. When you give them so much chance, ofcourse they will behave bad. But enough is enough. Its time to root out the mercenaries KIA. If they don’t want to come to peace table this time around, when will they come. The country as a whole never had this kind of chance in the past and there will not be so much chance like this in the future. The whole country want to move forward, but these cowards still want to dig in the past. Come on Kachin brothers, this is the time to kick KIA cowards ass. Don’t let the whole Kachin race down because of KIA cowards. Its time to move forward and build prosperous true federal union. Long live our union and KIA down down!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Amazing to read the Bamar commenters urging on the slaughter of the Kachins. Also amazing that in one post someone describes the Kachins as being brutal and at the same time urges their extermination. So much for peaceful Buddhists.

  10. Dear Sam!!!!!!!!
    You may be the westerner and you really don’t know what is on the ground. I am not a Bamar ethnic and I am a Shan ethnic. KIA constantly bullied us for so long. Nobody is saying anything about ethnic Shans suffering in Kachin state.Yes we are Buddhist and we are peaceful. We only ask to root out terrorist KIA. We see ordinary Kachins as our brothers and sisters.

    • I think you’re flat out lying. People know how brutal Myanmar military is, so your nonsense about “Buddhists being peaceful” is a flat-out lie. Actually that’s propaganda. So which branch of Myanmar government do you work for?

      • Yes Mr Sam!
        You are the rightful and honest one and who ever contrary to your opinion are lyres. Whatever it is , the fact is the fact. I am not saying that burmese army is good. But what about KIA, they are the same evil either. They will kill innocent people at their will for the sake of what they say is ” Kachin People’s cause”. Actually they are robbing the rights of People in the Kachin state and misusing the real cause. Forget about who I am, but I am sure you may be one of a same narrow minded KIA propagandist. I can see from your comments about attacking the others religion. Yeah keep doing that and dooms day of KIA is closer than ever. May god bless you.

        • I’m not attacking others’ religion, just pointing out that there’s ample evidence that Buddhists aren’t as peaceful as their image suggests. Also about the “KIA terrorists” conflicts with everything else I’ve read or been told about the situation there. Which is the reason I suggested you’re actually working for Myanmar Army psy-ops.

  11. Mr. Sam!!!!!
    Your Comments are oversight and one sided. You really don’t know the real KIA face behind the veil.
    We only ask to root our terrorist KIA, not the ordinary Kachin brothers and sisters. The sufferings of Shans in Kachins state are very rarely mentioned in media. Lately it become worse in KIA controlled area. Some of the KIA brutality on the ethnic Shans are appalling and some media like Irrawaddy should investigate. In reality KIA is a narrow minded organization with blood stain on their hands. Recently KIA try to get the outside sympathy but in reality they deserve none.

    • So the terrorist KIA being the ones who kill Burmese military? Seems fine with me considering their known brutality. I would go to Kachin except Myanmar government won’t let me. Which makes me wonder what they try to hide. All I’ve heard from Shan friends in Myanmar or Thailand is about the terroristic brutality of Myanmar’s military, taking Shan men and women as slave porters and sex slaves, if not outright slaughtering them. Given the rat-like behavior and views of Bamars (military or otherwise) I know, who generally support ethnic cleansing against Kachins/Karen/other non-Bamar groups, your comments are completely out of line. But Myanmar government refuses to allow UN access to the regions in question. KIA are not the terrorists from everything I have seen and heard.

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