KIO Warns Civil Servants in Northern Myanmar Not to Work for Junta

By The Irrawaddy 16 May 2022

The Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), the political wing of the Kachin Independence Army, has warned civil servants working under the Myanmar junta to resign from their jobs in a number of northern Myanmar towns.

In letters dated May 14, the administrative bodies in Kachin State’s Myitkyina, Hukawng and Shin Bway Yang districts and Tanai Township, parts of which are under KIO control, urged civil servants to “voluntarily resign from their posts.”

“Anyone who continues to work for the junta will have to take responsibility for any consequences,” the letter reads.

The KIO, one of Myanmar’s oldest ethnic revolutionary groups, is currently fighting junta troops and runs some 10 administrative districts in Kachin State and northern Shan State.

The spokesman of its central committee, Colonel Naw Bu, confirmed that the warning letters were issued by the respective administrative bodies, not directly by the KIO.

“The move shows that the KIO is planning to increase military [operations] while it expands the territory under its administration,” said an ethnic affairs expert who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Since the military coup in February last year, the KIO/KIA has been one of the ethnic armed groups helping anti-regime protesters and providing shelter and military training to young people, especially from central Myanmar, seeking help.

The Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) was launched by striking state employees on Feb. 3, 2021, just two days after the military coup, and remains a strong source of resistance to the junta’s rule. More than 400,000 individuals joined the CDM last year, according to the civilian National Unity Government (NUG). It also said last month that the ethnic armed groups, the NUG’s allies, and the resistance groups are in control of 50 percent of the country’s territory.

Meanwhile, defections from Myanmar’s security forces continue to rise, according to People’s Embrace, a group that works with the NUG to help defecting soldiers and police officers.

The KIO/KIA has ruled out attending peace talks initiated by coup leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, who on April 22 issued invitations to the country’s ethnic armed organizations. The group cited the proposed talks’ lack of inclusiveness in rejecting the invitation.

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