Kachin Group Says Violence Continues While President Claims Peace

By The Irrawaddy 8 March 2013

RANGOON — Kachin activists have reacted angrily to claims made by Burmese President Thein Sein during his European visit that there are no more hostilities in the border regions.

The president made the claim during his ongoing tour of Europe, where he is pushing for remaining economic sanctions against Burma to be dropped.

“There’s no more hostilities, no more fighting all over the country, we have been able to end this kind of armed conflict,” he told journalists following talks with Austrian President Heinz Fischer on Monday.

The Kachin National Organization, a political group made up of local and exiled community leaders, today responded by outlining the military activity that has taken place in the northern state in the past week.

It claims that hundreds of Burmese government army troops encroached into areas designated to be under Kachin Independence Army (KIA) control on the same day as Thein Sein was speaking in Austria. It says clashes broke out the following day after 400 Burmese troops moved into KIA areas in Magui Pukku and Lai Hkau Bum.

It is not known if casualties were sustained on either side and the reports could not be independently verified.

“The Burmese government is committing war crimes and preparing another big scale conflict while claiming ‘peace’ in Kachinland,” said a spokesperson for the Kachin National Organization.

“President Thein Sein is lobbying hard to get the EU sanctions dropped using false information. He should be [ashamed for his lies] in front of the world leaders and the media.”

The group also gave reports of extensive troop and supply reinforcements that have taken place across the region since March 1.