The Irrawaddy

KIA Forms 2 New Brigades

KIA soldiers in Mai Ja Yang.

YANGON — The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) has formed two new brigades, increasing its total number of brigades to 10.

The KIA is active in Kachin State and northern Shan State, and its new brigades are Brigade 9 and Brigade 10.

“We have added Brigade 9 and Brigade 10 to meet our requirements,” KIA information officer Col Naw Bu told The Irrawaddy.

Brigade 9 will be based in Kachin State and Brigade 10 in northern Shan State, according to the notice issued by the KIA on Feb. 7.

Despite the establishment of two new brigades, there will not be new recruits, said Col Naw Bu. Brigade 9 is constituted of Battalion 6 (based in Hpakant) and Battalion 26 (based in Mohnyin), which were previously under Brigade 2.

Brigade 10 is constituted of Battalion 2 (mobile battalion in Tamoenye) and Battalion 17 (mobile battalion in Lwal Kaung), which were previously under Brigade 4.

“Battalions under Brigade 2 are remotely overseen by Tanai [headquarters]. There are difficulties in administration because of the distance. So, we reconstituted brigades in order to closely monitor and enforce discipline,” said Col Naw Bu.

“Unless and until civil war is stopped, trust is built, and ethnic issues are solved, all those involved in the fighting will build up their military strength. It is unavoidable,” said ethnic affairs and political analyst U Maung Maung Soe.

KIA chairman N’Ban La and Lt-Gen Tun Tun Naung of the Tatmadaw held talks to deescalate military tensions in Kachin State on Feb. 1. During the meeting, the Tatmadaw asked the KIA to abolish brigades 5, 6, 7 and 8, which were not yet formed when the two signed a ceasefire in 1994 and also asked to move the brigades based in northern Shan State to Kachin State.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.