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Does Burma launch colonial war in Kachin state?

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The fighting between Burma's armed forces and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) increased soon after the Kachin people abandoned new ceasefire talks with the government at Laiza on July 12 and 13.

All at once, the war has gradually broadened in three main areas in Kachin State, the Sinbo area in Mohnyin Township, Manmaw (Bhamo) District and Waingmaw Township, referring local people Kachin News Group said.

On July 16, when government troops tried to penetrate into Laiza, the KIA's restricted area, the fighting broke out. It was the largest battle of the week, said the Kachin News Group's reporter in Laiza.

KIA captured seven Burmese soldiers, including a captain after two days of fighting at Hka Ya, near the Kachin headquarters at Laiza, in Burma's Northern Kachin State. The captive soldiers are from Infantry Battalion No. 21, based in Myitkyina. They were captured with 19 weapons, including two machine guns, a 60 mm mortar and the main military communication device, according to KIA officials in Laiza.

Fighting has happened in another location in Kachin State close to the Shan State border since July 16, a local resident said. A Burmese Army deputy battalion commander and three soldiers were killed during the conflict with the KIA in Manje Township, in Manmaw District, in Kachin State, KIA officials said.

The Burmese soldiers were from the Light Infantry Battalion No. 348 based in Mong Mit. They were killed during fighting with the KIA Battalion 12, led by Major Zau Gam, which is based in Manje (Mansi) Township, southern Manmaw (Bhamo) District, according to KIA officials in Laiza headquarters. The KIA also captured three guns carried by dead soldiers, KIA officials said.

A KIA soldier was killed yesterday by Burmese troops led by the dead-deputy commander, after the KIA fighter was captured with his gun, according to KIA Battalion 12.

Besides, the Burmese government has been driving a wedge into ethnic factions. The government deploys quite a lot of Kachin soldiers from pro-government militias and its Border Guard Force (BGF), in the civil war against the KIA in Kachin State and Northern Shan State, sources from Kachin militias and the BGF said.

Sixty militiamen from the Rebellion Resistance Force (RRF), based in Hkawng-lang-hpu, in Puta-O District, led by Tanggu Dang, a.k.a. Ah Dang, have been deployed to KIA strongholds near the China border, in eastern Kachin State, since June, sources close to the militia group said.

According to sources close to the Burmese Army, the Burmese government is going to start a full-blown maneuver against the minority Kachin army in the country's north after losing recent battles.

In Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State, tanks and war planes are preparing for the offensive against the KIA, which has bases around Kachin State and Northern Shan State, said Myitkyina residents. Fuel, arms and ammunition have been stockpiled at the Northern Regional Military Command, according to local military observers.

Burmese troops are currently in action in eight townships - Mohnyin, Myitkyina, Waimaw (Waingmaw), N'mawk (Momauk), Manje (Mansi), Sumprabum, Hpakant and Danai -   said KIA officials in Laiza headquarters.

The KIA's 4th Brigade and its five battalions are based in Muse, Kutkai and Lashio In Northern Shan State. Burmese troop has been reinforcing significantly in KIA 4th Brigade's area since early July, as said by local witnesses.

            According to Burmese military sources, on July 18, high level military summit was held in    Naypyidaw, Burma's capital, followed by a regional military meeting at Northern Regional         Command, in Myitkyina, the next day.

            The key agenda of discussion in the two meetings concentrated on the offensive against the KIA       and all remaining minority armed groups which rejected transforming into the government- controlled Border Guard Force (BGF), added the sources.   It was alleged that the war plan was        ordered by two top military leaders, Senior General Than Shwe and Vice-Senior Maung Aye.

In hope of setting up political dialogue, the KIO signed a ceasefire agreement with the then junta on February 24, 1994 and supported the military-favored 2008 constitution. However, no political dialogue happened in the 17-year ceasefire time and the KIO was squeezed transforming into the government-controlled Border Guard Force (BGF) before the November 7 election.

The latest series of armed clashes in Kachin state have prompted observers to believe that purposeful war in the border regions may not be avoidable.

The Thein Sein government seems to be unenthusiastic to end political and civil contradictions in ethnic regions. So, it is clear that Thein Sein government is not heading toward democracy.   Instead it is attempting to colonize the ethnic states ferociously.


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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. (more...)

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