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Burma should end every hostility for true peace

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Headlined to H3 11/19/13
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What really keep going toward ethnic natives in Burma/Myanmar? Why don't government's armed forces stop fighting in ethnic areas? Who is taking advantage of this unnecessary war? There are lots of questions relating to this inhumane conflict launched by consecutive regimes against the ethnic people.

For three weeks in a row government soldiers have hit Kachin Independence Army (KIA) troops in northern Shan state. The fighting has forced thousands of innocent civilians from Saga Nam Hkun area to flee to Bhamo township, according to KIA Maj. Jawn Aung.

Heavy fighting took place on October 28th and 29th at old Awng-Nan village on the road to Saga Nam Hkum in Mabein. The government soldiers were providing support for troops from Tactical Command No. 2 who were already pinned down by KIA forces in the Saga-Nam-Hkum area, Major Labang Jawng Awng told KNG. Tactical Command No. 2 is led by Maj. Moe Zaw. Recently, the government soldiers also attacked KIA forces for three days in Saga-Nam-Hkun village ended Nov. 11.

The KIO is the strongest member of the 12-armed ethnic-alliance, the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC). The alliance's leadership has been skeptical of the government's goal of having a national ceasefire before the end of the year.

If current government has genuine political reformation agenda, first of all, it should announce unilaterally ceasefire to show compassion on the war victims or innocent ethnic civilians. Government must bear in mind that this war truly is wasting many lives of country's manpower.

In hope of setting up political dialogue, the KIO signed a ceasefire agreement with the central government on February 24, 1994. However, no political dialogue happened in the 17-year ceasefire time and the KIO was intimidated to remove weapons. The KIO turned down the BGF plan, saying it cannot accept weakening its armed wing. 

KIA officials repeatedly said the civil war spread across Kachin and Shan states due to the government false aggressive offensive against the KIO. The latest series of armed clashes in Kachin state have prompted observers to think that war in the border regions may not be avoidable. Government armed forces reinforcements have been relentlessly reported in Kachin State, Shan State and Karen State in the country since President U Thein Sein took office.

Sporadic armed clashes has been going on recently between the junta's troops and armed ethnic groups such as the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO/KIA), the Shan State Army--North (SSA-North),(SSA-South), Ta'ang National Liberation Army (TNLA).

Although the government described itself as it is on the democratic reform path, but its armed forces continue destroying civilians' properties and killing unarmed civilians. Fighting has been particularly intense in northern Shan State along the proposed route of the Shwe gas pipeline project.

Peace talks between government and 16 armed rebel groups including the KIO ended in the Kachin state capital Myitkyina on 5 November without a breakthrough. The peace talks in Myitkyina between ethnic armies and the government failed to make any outcome due to government's call for unconditional ceasefire and total acceptance of 2008 Constitution which goes against federalism. The talks ended earlier than expected, according to media reports from Myitkyina.

According to Kachin News Group, a major point of disputation occurred on 4 November when the government side led by Lt. Gen. Myint Soe made a complaint with the rebel groups' proposals where they called themselves "ethnic armed revolutionary forces". The government side also disliked other suggestions of some rebel groups concerning the role of ethnic groups in the country's future. The government side responded with recommendation calling the rebel groups to die down armed struggle. It's likewise warning to lay down their arms.  

Following the meeting both government and rebels' sides had issued a statement indicating that all parties agreed to sign a nationwide ceasefire accord after a political dialogue. It remains undecided when this nationwide ceasefire will take place particularly. However, a nationwide ceasefire will not be ensued in November as predicted by the pro-government Myanmar Peace Center. The next round of talk is predictable to appear in Pa-an of Karen state sometime in December.

However, the civil war that made the country to be obsolete has been going on since 1948 Independence. Although the government has been attempting through its self-styled peacemaking plan, the key ethnic rebel groups, Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) and Karen National Union (KNU) are still unconvinced of the move for political settlement.

The ethnic armed groups do not trust fully on government's offer for peace talks. The fact is that while offering peace plan, the government has been escalating its deployment of armed forces in the conflict zones. 

The complicatedness of ending the war against the KNU and the KIO are entwined with the natural resources profits in the respective ethnic states. Myitsone dam venture and Shwe-gas twin pipeline development projects are entangled with war against KIO and Dawei deep sea-port multi-billion mega projects need security guarantee of the KNU. 

Moreover, the government wants to show the international community that their peacemaking course is on the progress. By doing so, the regime could earn the trust from the Western democracies and residual sanctions may lift at one fell swoop.

Since June 2011, government army has been not only assaulting the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) but also the innocent Kachin inhabitants. This extraordinary civil war has certainly been afflicting huge casualties from both government side and the Kachin rebels. 

The worst action done by the government soldiers is inhuman revenge against ordinary Kachin villagers. There are now around 100,000 Kachin refugees, who have run away from attacks made by government armed forces. As Kachin villagers have abandoned their homes, their villages became ruins and the area changed into a no-man-land where native people are at risk of homicide and forced-labor. For women, they may be victims of sexual-assault by the government soldiers.

The huge majority of the refugees have fled to KIO areas where the UN and international NGO's have been unreachable.

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Zin Linn was born on February 9, 1946 in a small town in Mandalay Division. He began writing poems in 1960 and received a B.A (Philosophy) in 1976. He became an activist in the High School Union after the students' massacre on 7th July 1962. He (more...)
 
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