Burmese Army Threatens to Wipe Out the KIA

By Lawi Weng 10 May 2012

The commander of the Burmese Army’s Northern Regional Military Command, Brig-Gen Zeyar Aung, told people in Pangwa, Kachin State, not to worry about the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) causing problems because his troops will wipe them out.

He made the statement at a meeting in Pangwa with the public, local militia troops and troops formerly of the New Democratic Army-Kachin (NDA-K) who were absorbed into the Burmese Army’s Border Guard Force in 2010.

La Nan, a spokesperson for the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), the political wing of the KIA, said: “We heard what he said at the meeting about the government troops wiping out our troops.

“They could not wipe out the KIA even if they tried.”

The KIA troops seized a former NDA-K base in Pangwa on April 16, with the loss of 31 men, according to state-run media.

They later withdrew claiming that fighting over the base in the town could cause civilian injuries.
Some observers suggested that the KIA seized the base to draw the Burmese troops away from attacking the KIO headquarters in Laiza.

More government troops have been deployed in the area of Laiza and fighting there has intensified in the last three days. It is believed that they are preparing for an assault on the KIO headquarters.

According to La Nan there are 2,000 to 3,000 government troops on the front line and other troops stationed in towns in Kachin State.

The fighting has forced 70,000 civilians to flee their homes to temporary refugee camps on the Sino-Burmese border.

The Burmese government blame KIO hardliners for failing to reach a peace deal.

Since fighting broke out in Kachin State last June there have been three rounds of peace talks between the KIO and the Burmese government delegation led by former Industry Minister Aung Thaung.

Talks have stalled because there has been no agreement on KIO demands for the withdrawal of government troops from near KIO-controlled areas and having international observers witness the signing of any peace agreement.

To try and break the deadlock the Burmese government has changed its peace negotiators and bought in Vice President Sai Mauk.

The KIA have said that just changing the personnel is not enough and that it must be accompanied by a change in policy.