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  #1  
Old 06-16-2011, 09:09 AM
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Default Q+A-What is behind clashes in Myanmar's Kachin hills?

http://af.reuters.com/article/energy...BrandChannel=0

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Q+A-What is behind clashes in Myanmar's Kachin hills?

Thu Jun 16, 2011 8:09am GMT
June 16 (Reuters) - Myanmar troops have clashed with ethnic Kachin rebels near Chinese-built dams this week, threatening Chinese energy interests in the country.
Here are some questions and answers about the conflict and the implications for China.


WHO ARE THE KACHIN REBELS?
They are guerrillas of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), one of the larger ethnic minority forces in northern Myanmar. The Kachin are a hill people and many of them are Christian.
The KIA group was formed in the early 1960s and for years battled the military government for greater autonomy for the Kachin hills along the border with China, which are rich in jade and timber.
The group agreed to a ceasefire in 1994 but that fell through last year when the government tried to force all ethnic minority forces to merge with its military-run Border Guard Force.
The Kachin were among those who refused on the grounds that a merger with the government force would erode their autonomy. The Kachin force numbers at least 10,000 well-armed and experienced fighters.
Ethnic minority rebel armies like the KIA have fought Myanmar's military for decades. Low-level fighting has taken place in the past year; these latest clashes are the most intense.
The Kachin, like most of Myanmar's ethnic minority factions, are not fighting to break away from Myanmar but want a federal system with a high degree of autonomy for their regions.




WHAT HAS BEEN GOING ON RECENTLY?
Beginning last Thursday, Myanmar troops clashed with the KIA. The clashes are near at least two Chinese-built hydroelectric dams and there area fears that fighting could spread to other areas on the border.
At least four people have been killed and Kachin sources estimate 10,000 people have fled into the jungles towards the Myanmar-China border.
Some analysts say the conflict has arisen mainly out of business interests. The KIA was ignored when Myanmar and China agreed a lucrative energy deal, and now the group could be demanding financial incentives, such as protection money.



WHY DOES THIS CONFLICT MATTER TO CHINA?
China has interests in resource-rich Myanmar, particularly in energy. Bilateral trade rose by more than half last year to $4.4 billion, and China's investment in Myanmar reached $12.3 billion in 2010, according to Chinese figures, with a strong focus on natural resources and energy projects.
In October, Chinese state energy group CNPC started building a crude oil port in Myanmar, part of a pipeline project aimed at streamlining oil cargo paths.
In addition, Myanmar gives China access to the Indian Ocean, not only for imports of oil and gas and exports from landlocked southwestern Chinese provinces, but also potentially for military bases or listening posts.




WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN NEXT?
Myanmar's government is only 10 weeks old and has little appetite for war with the ethnic minority forces at this stage, although it is unlikely to tolerate them in the long term.
Still, it faces pressure to protect the dams and other pipeline construction sites to appease China. Since China has significant energy interests in the area, it may use its influence to try to stop the fighting. (Compiled by Beijing Newsroom and Martin Petty in Bangkok; Editing by Alan Raybould and Robert Birsel)
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All battles do culminate in ending a war;
A war generating battles is ‘curse’ not ‘mirth’.

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Old 08-08-2011, 06:18 AM
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Default Govt Shelling Hits Karen Village

http://www.irrawaddy.org/article.php?art_id=21818

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Govt Shelling Hits Karen Village

By SAW YAN NAING Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Burmese army officers welcome the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army into their ranks as a Border Guard Force at a ceremony in southern Karen State in August 2010. (Irrawaddy)











Villagers' lives have been severely disrupted in Hlaing Bwe Township in southern Karen State due to a continued campaign since May of mortar-shelling by a joint-force of Burmese government troops and a unit of the Karen Border Guard Force (BGF) against Karen rebels in the area, according to a rebel source.
The shelling has been carried out almost every day, said Brig-Gen Johnny, the commander of the main rebel faction, the Karen National Liberation Army's Brigade 7.
He said the government troops and BGF particularly try to target the camp of a renegade faction of the BGF, led by Lt-Col Po Bi, which defected from the government alliance to rejoin the KNLA and its its mother organization, the Karen National Union (KNU).
At least 14 community schools have been closed down due to the fighting, and villagers live in a constant state of fear, according to a report by the Karen Teachers Working Group. Some mortar shells have hit homes, though no deaths were reported.
Burmese army-BGF forces have dug in on high ground and are firing mortars down at the rebels' base, which is located just outside the town of Hlaing Bwe, Brig-Gen Johnny said, adding that many families have fled the village and are hiding in the jungle.
Meanwhile, KNLA Brigade 4 in Tenasserim Division has announced that it will carry out military activities against the government troops working as security guards for the Italian-Thai Company which is currently contracted to construct a highway between Thailand’s Kanchanaburi and Burma’s Tavoy as part of the multi-billion-dollar Dawei Development Project.
Local villagers in areas close to Tavoy [Dawei] have complained about the project's numerous negative impacts on the local population and the environment. Many also said that they have not been compensated for the loss of their land which was seized by Burmese authorities to expand the economic zone.
Maj. Joseph of KNLA Brigade 4 said, “We have to protect civilians. Their land has been seized and destroyed without compensation. They will only have to relocate if the project continues.”
Recently, a group of 50 construction workers from the Italian-Thai Company fled back to Thailand due to nearby fighting between government troops and KNLA Brigade 4 in Tenasserim Division, near the border with Thailand. The KNLA Brigade 4 ambushed the patrolling Burmese troops and burned down their camps.
The workers have since returned to the construction site in Tenasserim although construction on the highway is at a standstill, said KNLA sources.
When contacted by The Irrawaddy on Tuesday, a staffer from the Italian-Thai Company in Bangkok, refused to provide any details about the workers' security or the project.
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All battles do culminate in ending a war;
A war generating battles is ‘curse’ not ‘mirth’.

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Old 08-08-2011, 06:21 AM
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Default Not So Quiet on the Eastern Front

http://www.irrawaddy.org/article.php?art_id=21805

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Not So Quiet on the Eastern Front By KO HTWE Monday, August 1, 2011
The Irrawaddy's Ko Htwe speaks to Col. Sai Htoo, the general-secretary (2) of the Shan State Progress Party (SSPP) about the breakdown four months ago of the ceasefire in Kachin State, and the ongoing conflict between the group's military wing, the Shan State Army (SSA), and Burmese government forces.
Question: How did the peace agreement fall through?
Answer: We accepted peace in the hope of solving problems in political ways. Just like when former Gen Khin Nyunt promised that negotiations would lead to the development of the region. However, after his removal the situation changed. When the government was compiling the 2008 constitution, we were also attending the National Convention where we advocated peace, democracy, peace and development. But all of our advice was neglected. After that, the government tried to convert our army into a Border Guard Force.

Q: What is the current situation between the SSA and the government troops?
A: The latest situation is that Naypyidaw sent an olive branch through two monks from Kyesi Township, inquiring whether the SSA wanted peace or not. Their message was that if the SSA wanted peace it would stop fighting. But we were not convinced who sent those monks. We questioned whether they were sent from the commander-in-chief or from the government of Shan State. They did not have anything concrete—no documents or evidence—so it was hard for us to take them seriously.
But we want peace. We have urged the government troops to retreat from our area, but they have not responded to date.
Q: How would you describe the current conflict between the SSA and the Burmese army on the ground?
A: Continuous clashes have been ongoing. They are not serious clashes. We defend our camps through guerrilla warfare and attack those who advance on us.
Q: What is the current status of your headquarters in Wan Hai?
A: Government troops have surrounded our headquarters. No one is moving forward or retreating. We are ready to repel them if they attack us.
Q: Some news and reports said government troops are around 400m from the headquarters of the SSA/ SSPP?
A: That is correct. Our frontline is about two furlongs [440 yards] from the Mongshu- Mongnang highway, which is where the Tatmadaw has advanced to.
Q: I have heard rumors that the SSA/SSPP headquarters will soon fall.
A: All those reports are false. Our headquarters is secure. The government is circulating these reports in order to encourage their troops. It's just a form of psychological warfare.
Q: So are you saying that Wan Hai will not fall into enemy hands?
A: It's hard to say. We have to protect our camp. We will defend it against all offensives. Time will tell.
Q: Reports have come in that aircraft bombing was taking place. Is that true?
A: Last week, aircraft flew over our camp. Some of our troops said that the planes tried to bomb the camp, but I cannot confirm whether this is true or not because I was not there. In the last five days, we have received news that around seven aircraft were going to bomb our headquarters. They didn't, but I don't know why. I heard it may have been because of bad weather.
Q: Some reports said that government forces used chemical weapons during clashes with your troops. Can this be confirmed?
A: In June, we clashed with Light Infantry Battalion 33. I assume they employed that kind of weapon because they could not penetrate our defenses. The strange thing is that when they fired their weapons at us, black smoke came pouring out. Some of our troops vomited. Some felt itchy and had headaches. I assume it was due to chemical weapons, but we are investigating.
Q: When government troops launched an offensive in the Wan Hai region there was news that government troops used villagers as porters and in some cases, rapes took place. Can you comment?
A: Yes, villagers were forced to work as porters. Some escaped by running into the jungle where they suffered from lack of food. Farmers had to abandon their crops. Schools were closed. Even when the schools opened, teachers and students were too afraid to attend because the government troops were camped near the school.
Q: How is the relationship now between the SSA/ SSPP and the SSA-South?
A: In May, we agreed to join our forces, but negotiations are still in process. They are not supporting us in terms of weapons or manpower but they are focused on attacking government army convoys in their area. We will continue to work together.
Q: What is your view of Aung San Suu Kyi's recent letter? Does it affect your quest for peace?
A: We received her letter [to mediate] and we respect her benevolence. We also support and welcome her desire to hold dialogue without conditions. But we cannot do anything if the government doesn't open their door. If President Thein Sein shows good will, we are all ready to observe the ceasefire. We also support national reconciliation and dialogue for the sake of peace in our country.
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All our wars in air or in water are of NO worth;
if we haven’t so far learnt to live on earth.
All battles do culminate in ending a war;
A war generating battles is ‘curse’ not ‘mirth’.

In my veins runs the blood of the poets and wise men of old, and it is my desire to come to you and receive, but I shall not come with empty hands - Kahlil Gibran
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Old 09-11-2011, 03:04 PM
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Default Govt. Blames KIO Demands for Lack of Peace

Govt. Blames KIO Demands for Lack of Peace By KO HTWE Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Minster of Information Kyaw San has blamed the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) for the lack of success in reaching a ceasefire agreement between the ethnic armed group and Burmese government.

He told a meeting of the Burmese Parliament's Lower House on Tuesday that KIO leaders have been making unreasonable demands despite “proper concessions” offered by Naypyidaw.

Referring to recent peace talks with the KIO, he said that “the state agreed to the wishes of the KIO as much as possible, but peace was impossible due to one-sided proposals of the armed group,” according to state-run newspaper The New Light of Myanmar.

His response came after Nan Wah Nu, MP for Kunhing Constituency in Shan State, asked the Lower House how the government intends to carry out plans for national reconciliation and internal peace.

“Similarly, looking back at some peace talks held in the past, armed groups take advantage of government ceasefires by extending their territory by force, extortion and speeding up anti-peace campaigns. That was why peace talks have failed to realize their goal,” said Kyaw San. “Some armed groups pretend to have peace talks in order to relieve their military and political problems in the short term.”

Kyaw San also said that Hluttaw representatives, including Nan Wah Nu, should not only urge the government to find peace but also advise armed groups to take the right stance and hold honest negotiations.

“Due to a lack of genuine will, we could not reach an agreement. The peace-making process relies to some extent on the true aspiration for peace and correct stance,” said Kyaw San.

But it appears that this was not everything the Burmese minister for information had to say on the issue.

“Some of Kyaw San words which insulted ethnic groups did not appear in the newspapers. That made me annoyed,” said a Lower House MP on condition of anonymity.
KIO Joint-Secretary La Nan told The Irrawaddy that he does not know what demands the government have acceded to and wants them to divulge the facts in detail.

“We have not taken any devious steps. After the fighting in June, we have consistently demanded a lasting peace to enable nationwide talks,” said La Nan.

He also denied the claim that the KIO's military wing, the Kachin Independence Army, conducted any campaign to extend their territory.

“As a minister, Kyaw San is making baseless remarks that can only damage the dignity of his position,” said La Nan.

The government is trying to arrange a new ceasefire agreement based on the undemocratic 2008 constitution. Under the plan, the only legitimate armed group would be the Burmese Army, or “Tatmataw,” and all other armed groups would exist under a Border Guard Force.

The KIO is trying to arrange a ceasefire agreement under the 1947 Panglong agreement and to arrange political dialogue through the United Nationalities Federal Council.

The umbrella group represents 12 ethnic armies but the government accuses them of being one-sided and uncooperative.

Kyaw San also accused the KIO of destroying the 1994 ceasefire agreement with the Burmese government during a recent tearful press conference.



http://www.irrawaddy.org/article.php?art_id=22034
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All battles do culminate in ending a war;
A war generating battles is ‘curse’ not ‘mirth’.

In my veins runs the blood of the poets and wise men of old, and it is my desire to come to you and receive, but I shall not come with empty hands - Kahlil Gibran
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Old 11-04-2011, 06:43 PM
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Default DKBA Brigade 5 Reaches Ceasefire with Naypyidaw

http://www.irrawaddy.org/article.php?art_id=22390

DKBA Brigade 5 Reaches Ceasefire with Naypyidaw

By SAW YAN NAING Friday, November 4, 2011


DKBA Brigade 5 leaders, including Brig-Gen Saw Lah Pwe (black shirt), pose for a photograph at a base in eastern Burma. (Photo: The Irrawaddy)












The Democratic Karen Buddhist Army’s (DKBA) Brigade 5 reached a ceasefire agreement with a Burmese government delegation on Thursday, said the DKBA Brigade 5 leader, Brig-Gen Saw Lah Pwe.



Saw Lah Pwe told The Irrawaddy on Friday that he signed a ceasefire agreement with a Burmese delegation on Thursday. He said that fighting had stopped and some government troops that previously were deployed on the frontlines had begun to withdraw from areas controlled by DKBA Brigade 5.
“I think they really want to make a ceasefire with us at this moment. Some of the representatives are Burmese officials from Naypyidaw,” said Saw Lah Pwe.


He said that the official statement about the ceasefire agreement with the Burmese authorities will be announced on Nov. 6 and DKBA Brigade 5 will reopen its headquarters in Sone Seen Myaing, Myawaddy Township.
DKBA Brigade 5, which has an estimated 1,500 troops, split with the DKBA, which has an estimated 6,000 troops, and restarted armed conflict with government troops in 2010 when the Burmese military attempted to force the DKBA to join its Border Guard Force. Then on Nov 7, 2010, DKBA Brigade 5 temporarily took control of several government buildings in the town of Myawaddy on the Thai border and the fighting that followed forced over 20,000 people to flee to Thailand.


The renewed hostilities between DKBA Brigade 5 and government troops broke a 15-year-old ceasefire agreement between the DKBA and Burma’s previous military regime, which was signed in 1995.


The DKBA, with the exception of Brigade 5, previously agreed to join the BGF. However, despite the ceasefire, Brigade 5 is no longer being asked to join.
The ceasefire agreement between DKBA Brigade 5 and the Naypyidaw delegation was reached after several previous meetings failed to produce an agreement.


Meanwhile, other government delegations have separately approached other ethnic armed groups such as the Karen National Union, Shan State Army – South and New Mon State Party for peace talks. Some of them have met with the government delegations, but no agreements have been reached thus far.
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All our wars in air or in water are of NO worth;
if we haven’t so far learnt to live on earth.
All battles do culminate in ending a war;
A war generating battles is ‘curse’ not ‘mirth’.

In my veins runs the blood of the poets and wise men of old, and it is my desire to come to you and receive, but I shall not come with empty hands - Kahlil Gibran
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Old 11-04-2011, 06:51 PM
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Default Clashes Lead to Blackout in Kachin Capital

http://www.irrawaddy.org/article.php?art_id=22383

Clashes Lead to Blackout in Kachin Capital

By SAI ZOM HSENG Thursday, November 3, 2011


In this Jan 8 ,2011 photo, Kachin tribe in traditional dress perform during Kachin Manaw or New Year festival in Myitkyina, capital of Kachin State. (Photo: AP)












Myitkyina, one of the few cities in Burma that has had a reliable supply of electricity in recent years, is now suffering from the same sort of shortages that afflict most of the rest of the country due to ongoing fighting between the Burmese military and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA).


Residents of the Kachin State capital say that the power has been down in the city since the evening of Nov 1—the longest outage since the Bu Kha Company, owned by the KIA's political wing, the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), started providing electricity in 2005-2006.


Naw Sai, a Kachin man who lives in Myitkyina, said the sudden return to power scarcity has resulted in a greater demand for generators and rising fuel prices.


“Gasoline and diesel have increased 500 kyat (US $0.64) per gallon, and generators are also more expensive now,” said Naw sai, speaking to The Irrawaddy on Thursday. “Electricity is essential for running any sort of business, whether it's a restaurant, clinic or photography studio.”


Bu Kha has told local people that the outage is due to damage to a utility pole in Wine Maw Township, caused by mortars or bombs used in the fighting between the Burmese army and the KIA, but there have also been rumors that the company has deliberately cut off supplies.


Few, however, appear to believe the rumors, saying that the KIO would have nothing to gain from depriving people of electricity.


Meanwhile, the KIO recently replied to a letter from Thein Zaw, an ex-major general who is currently sitting as an MP for Myitkyina, that called on the group to enter into discussions with the government like other ethnic armed groups, such as the Karen National Union and the United Wa State Army.


“It is just a show for the international community,” said La Nan, a spokesman for the KIO, referring to the letter, which he said was sent in late October and didn't represent the government.


“The Burmese government sends us letters whenever foreign officials, such as the Indonesian foreign minister or the US special envoy for Burma, Derek Mitchell, visit the country. But at the same time, they're reinforcing their front line with troops from the 88th Infantry Division,” said La Nan.


The KIO was formed in 1961 and signed a ceasefire agreement with the Burmese government in 1994. The ceasefire collapsed in June of this year with the outbreak of renewed fighting.




A long time ago, my family on my maternal grandfather's side had a home and used to live in this city of Myitkyina, perhaps some distant relatives still do. Sad to see what a trashy place it has become - Knaur.
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All battles do culminate in ending a war;
A war generating battles is ‘curse’ not ‘mirth’.

In my veins runs the blood of the poets and wise men of old, and it is my desire to come to you and receive, but I shall not come with empty hands - Kahlil Gibran
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Old 12-06-2011, 07:36 PM
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Default As Myanmar Reaches Out, Old Conflict Flares Within

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/07/wo...ic-rebels.html

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As Myanmar Reaches Out, Old Conflict Flares Within

By THE NEW YORK TIMES

YANGON, Myanmar — Intensifying clashes between ethnic rebels and Myanmar’s army have forced tens of thousands of villagers into refugee camps near the Chinese border, according to aid workers and members of the clergy.
Efforts by the Myanmar government to restart talks with leaders of the Kachin ethnic group appear to have failed, leading to a crisis that is developing just as the government is trying to introduce economic and political reforms.
“Now the fighting is everywhere,” Naw Din, a coordinator for a Catholic-run refugee camp in the northern town of Bhamo, said by telephone on Tuesday. “We are hearing bombing, night or day.”
A government representative met with leaders of the Kachin Independence Organization shortly before Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visited Myanmar last week, but the talks were inconclusive. Fighting was was reported on Tuesday near the headquarters of the Kachin group, which has an army of several thousand fighters.
More than 26,000 people have now been displaced by the conflict, according to a detailed tally by a Kachin aid worker who asked not to be identified in order to preserve her access to the troubled and remote region. A Catholic priest returning from the affected area on Tuesday said that some priests and nuns and clergymen were trapped by the clashes, which he said involved heavy weapons.
“The fighting is intensifying now,” the priest said by telephone from northern Myanmar. He said Kachin fighters had abandoned many of their bases and were now engaged in guerrilla attacks against the military.
The mountainous northern reaches of Myanmar, rich in jade and timber and crisscrossed by traffickers dealing in heroin and methamphetamines, are among the most unstable areas in Southeast Asia.
The new government of President Thein Sein has reached out to the country’s minority ethnic groups, which have a long history of conflict with the central government and make up about one-third of Myanmar’s population of 55 million. Last week there were reports of a ceasefire deal with another rebel group, a faction of the Shan State Army.
Myanmar’s majority ethnic group, the Burman, have dominated the army and held the highest posts in government since the country, formerly known as Burma, won independence from Britain in 1948, while the non-Burman minorities have sought autonomy.
“The ethnic people of this country have different backgrounds, different histories, different cultures — even different ways of naming their children,” Yogawng Hawng Hkawng, 88, a Kachin Baptist minister, said in an interview earlier this year at his home in northern Myanmar. “We are different clans. Because of those differences, I don’t see the country ever being peaceful. There will always be problems, one way or another. I don’t think the country can be united.”
Mr. Yogawng Hawng Hkawng’s life has been one of tumult and war interrupted by periods of peace. He fought on the side of the Allies in World War II when Burma was occupied by Japan and the Kachin hills were a major battleground. The Cold War brought decades of fighting between Chinese-backed Communist rebels and the central government. The current round of fighting between Kachin rebels and the Myanmar authorities began in June after years of tensions.
International aid organizations have been allowed to deliver food to refugee camps near major towns. Carlos Veloso of the United Nations World Food Program says his group has delivered about 200 metric tons of food in the Kachin areas, but it only has enough money to operate in the country through February.
“I’m sure they will need more assistance,” Mr. Veloso said in an interview. “I just don’t know the dimensions of it.”
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All battles do culminate in ending a war;
A war generating battles is ‘curse’ not ‘mirth’.

In my veins runs the blood of the poets and wise men of old, and it is my desire to come to you and receive, but I shall not come with empty hands - Kahlil Gibran
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Old 12-06-2011, 07:38 PM
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Default Burma And Ongoing Reforms: Ethnic Minorities Continue To Be Ignored – Analysis

December 5, 2011
By C. S. Kuppuswamy
Since the “Civil” government came to power in March 2011, after almost five decades of military rule, a spate of reforms have been introduced in the country’s transition to democracy. The ethnic minorities involved in a civil war since independence have only marginally benefited from these reforms. But the one odd development has been the suspension of Chinese funded Myitsone dam which certainly has provided great relief to the ethnic Kachin inhabitants.
Burma

About 40% of Myanmar’s population (around 55 million) is composed of ethnic minorities often referred to as ethnic nationalities. Officially there are 135 national races though the major ethnic groups are seven in number- the Arakan, Chin, Kachin, Karenni, Karen, Mon and the Shan. The Burman majority ruling the country and holding key positions in all walks of life accounts for 60% of the population. The ethnic groups are located on the peripheral mountainous areas of the country occupying around 60% the land area while the majority Burmans are in the inland plain areas.
The main demand of ethnic groups is for regional autonomy through a federal set up at the centre to ensure equal rights for all the country’s citizens. This, though assured in 1947 at the Panglong Conference, has been denied consistently by successive constitutions and with measures taken by the military government to marginalise these ethnic groups.
The ethnic minorities resorted to civil war and it is continuing for the last 60 years but for some periods of temporary peace due to the Cease Fire agreements entered into by the government with some major groups. These cease fires have also broken down due to the proposal (under the 2008 Constitution) to convert these ethnic armed groups to Border Guards under the Myanmar Army and the unwillingness of the ethnic groups. Thus the stand off continues.
The oft quoted “Tripartite dialogue” with the government, the democratic opposition and the ethnic minorities has never materialised though the hopes were kindled with the “Civil” Government coming to power in March 2011.
Government’s Attitude and Initiatives

The elections in November 2010 under the 2008 Constitution gave some hopes to ethnic minorities when provincial assemblies were formed and ethnic parties, though small in numbers, had the opportunity to contest and send their representatives to these assemblies as well as to the parliament at the centre. Under the 2008 Constitution “self administered areas” were also created for six of the ethnic groups giving them limited autonomy in their areas.
President Thein Sein in his inaugural address to the parliament as well as in his various speeches later has underscored the seriousness of the ongoing ethnic conflict and its ramifications on the country’s unity and the economy and the miseries inflicted on the ethnic minorities. He has indicated that he will accord top priority to this issue and make fresh efforts with the ethnic groups by negotiations through interlocutors to achieve national unity. There is no more pressure on the armed groups from the government to transform the insurgent armed groups into Border Guards. However the ethnic groups do not seem to be very convinced that these utterances will be translated into action.
In August 2011, the government announced through the official media that the ethnic armed groups desiring to have peace talks should contact their respective state governments before meeting the union government representatives for this purpose. This move clearly indicated that the government wants to have separate peace talks with different ethnic armed groups and not at the national level or with any alliance of some of these groups.
Subsequently Internal Peace Making committees at the centre (in both houses) and in the states were formed to conduct talks with the ethnic armed groups.
President Thein Sein said in a press conference during the ASEAN Summit (Nov 18 -20) that it is impossible to hold negotiations with all the ethnic groups simultaneously and since their demands vary, bilateral talks are necessary. He added that the armed forces can annihilate the ethnic armed groups if it wanted to in a short period.
In November 2011, the government delegation led by Aung Min, the minister for Railways, held peace talks with five Karen and Shan rebel groups out of which three—Shan State Army South, Chin National Front and Karen National Union have informally agreed for a cease fire.
On 29 November 2011, a government delegation led by two former generals, held talks with the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) in the Chinese border town of Ruili in Yunnan. It is believed that the talks remained inconclusive.
The Military Actions

While the government initiatives for peace talks with the ethnic groups are underway, fighting between the Myanmar armed forces and the ethnic armed groups have also been taking place in the border areas close to China and Thailand.
Clashes between government troops and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) broke out on June 09, 2011 and it is reportedly continuing till date though some talks were held in between the fighting. Some reports indicate that the government troops have suffered heavy casualties and have resorted to using artillery and tanks against some strongholds of the Kachins. More than 30,000 civilians have been displaced and have sought shelter in the border areas.
The Myanmar army had launched a major offensive against the Shan State Army in southern Shan state in July 2011.
Dr. Zarni, a columnist for “The Irrawaddy” has expressed that the military considers the ongoing conflicts “as their main justification to maintain their power structures” and that it has “shown no interest or political will for establishing genuine and lasting peace. The Generals have turned domestic conflicts into their golden goose”.
Some analysts are also of the view that the military operations are continuing with a view to pressurise the ethnic groups to opt for peace talks.
Most human rights organisations have repeatedly accused the Myanmar military of continuing to perpetrate a wide range of human rights violations with impunity. They have demanded more transparency and need for accountability of human rights abuses. A resolution expressing grave concern over human rights violations in Myanmar was approved in the UN General Assembly in November 2011.
In this connection the Ethnic Nationalities Council has brought out a report titled “Discrimination, Conflict and Corruption – The Ethnic States of Burma” – a well documented account of the problems faced by the ethnics.
Reactions of Ethnic Groups

Though some major ethnic groups have started contacting the state governments for initiating peace talks, there is scepticism on the part of most groups on the sincerity of the government in working out an amicable solution.
A report of the International Crisis Group of 30 November 2011 indicates that the following ethnic groups have contacted their respective state government Peace-Making groups and that a four-point initial peace agreement have been signed by them paving the way for the next stage of national level peace talks.
  • The United Wa State Army 06 September 2011
  • The National Defence Alliance Army (Mongla) 07 September 2011
  • The 5th Brigade of Democratic Karen Buddhist Army 03 November 2011
The ethnic groups under the umbrella organisation—United Nationalities Federal Council (formed in February 2011) are keen that negotiations should take place with this organisation rather than on a one to one basis with its component groups, but the government appears to be adamant in dealing with the groups bilaterally.
In the peace talks held in November 2011, between the government and some ethnic groups in areas bordering Thailand and China, the following have entered into cease fire arrangements—some written, some verbal and some informal
  • Shan State Army—South (SSA-S)
  • Karen National Union (KNU)
  • Chin National Front (CNF)
The major drawback of the ethnic groups over the years is their inability to form a united front with an acceptable agenda for all the ethnic groups to negotiate with the government. Efforts in uniting the groups by forming umbrella organisations such as the National Democratic Front (1976), Democratic Alliance of Burma (1988), Ethnic Nationalities Council (2001) and the latest United Nationalities Federal Council (2011) have all failed as a true representative organisation of all the ethnic groups. This weakness has been exploited by the government over the years by weaning away some of the groups with some special concessions or the other. The government again appears to be comfortable in dealing with individual groups and not with any umbrella organisation.
Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi wrote an open letter on 28 July 2011 to President Thein Sein with copies to some ethnic groups that she is ready to get involved in efforts to resolve ongoing armed conflicts between the military and ethnic groups.
She is also believed to have discussed the ethnic issue with Aung Kyi, the Labour Minister who was acting as the liaison officer of the Government, in a number of meetings she has had with him since her release in November 2010.
Her meeting with President Thein Sein on August 19, 2011 and the rapprochement since then has elevated her status and kindled the hopes of ethnic groups who had welcomed her intervention in the ethnic issue.
However, the International Crisis Group report of 30 November 2011 indicates that she being a Burman, and not having a “clear understanding of the ethnic situation”, some ethnic groups feel that they may not get a fair deal with her intervention. This is rather a myopic view and with her father’s legacy behind, she is bound to play a major role towards the betterment of the ethnic groups if she is involved the process.
Conclusion

After 60 years of this long drawn conflict, the ethnic groups must realise that their aspirations for a federal set up at the centre and full fledged regional autonomy are unlikely to be fulfilled in the near term. But their hopes are pinned on Aung San Suu Kyi. Perhaps creation of some more “self administered areas” like the six approved under the 2008 constitution for some ethnic groups can be demanded and may be acceded to.
The ethnic groups should be happy if their other concerns of peace in their area, equality with Burmans, economic opportunities, better infrastructure, preservation of their culture, language etc. and human rights are attended to over a period of time.
Consequent to the visit of Hillary Clinton (30th November to 2nd December 2011) and the US detente in the foreseeable future, Myanmar will be compelled to improve the human rights situation in the country (a core concern of US), which will help the ethnic groups in a big way.
With the most active armed groups on the borders with China and Thailand, these countries have had problems of refugees, drugs, cross border crime as well as some economic advantages. Hence their policies towards the ethnic groups and cooperation with the Myanmar Government are vital for a lasting solution to this problem. The international community can also help in many ways to ameliorate the plight of the ethnics.
As of now, the reforms under way in Myanmar are directed more towards democratisation perhaps due to geo-political constraints and less on achieving national reconciliation perhaps because the ethnic problem is considered a domestic issue. But the ethnic question cannot be wished away. It is a perennial problem that needs to be addressed now and once for all. Democratisation of the majority Burmans alone will not do.


http://www.eurasiareview.com/0512201...ored-analysis/
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Old 12-16-2011, 05:57 PM
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Default Govt Sending More Troops to Kachin State by Helicopter: KIO

http://www.irrawaddy.org/article.php?art_id=22661

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KIA soldiers carry an injured colleague. (Photo: THE IRRAWADDY)



Burma's army is using helicopters to send reinforcements to Kachin State in a bid to avoid ambushes by the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), despite a call from the country's president to halt fighting, according to sources in the conflict area.
La Nan, a spokesperson for the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), the KIA's political wing, said that the government has stepped up its use of helicopters since last month, noting that previously they were used primarily to evacuate wounded government troops.
“Since Nov 25, they have been using more helicopters, not only to transport injured troops, but also to bring in ammunition and reinforcements, because they were suffering heavy casualties when they tried to bring more soldiers into the combat zone overland,” he said.
Speaking to The Irrawaddy on Thursday, La Nan said that the most severe clashes have been near Mai Ja Yang, where the KIA's Brigade 3 is based and where hundreds of civilians have been displaced by the fighting.
Despite a call by Burmese President Thein Sein earlier this week to end a conflict that has been raging since June, the government army seems to be preparing for an escalation of the conflict, said La Nan.
Observers in the area said that anger over heavy casualties inflicted by the KIA could be fueling the army's apparent unwillingness to end its offensive. In one recent three-day battle with the KIA's Battalion 15 alone, some 73 Burmese troops were killed, according to KIO records cited by La Nan.
Heavy casualties have been reported on both sides, although complete figures are not available. However, sources who visited the conflict zones recently said they witnessed hundreds of dead government troops.
According to one Western observer who spoke to The Irrawaddy on Thursday, fighting continues to rage on unabated near the KIO's headquarters of Laiza, on the Sino-Burmese border.
“I just returned from Laiza and as of late last night they were still fiercely fighting just outside of Mai Ja Yang, a few kilometers away as the crow flies,” he said.
“The KIA and the Burmese army had been struggling over the mountaintop post of Mu Bum. Late in the afternoon, three Huskies could be seen circling and dropping supplies and some think perhaps even bombs, as major ground-shaking explosions could be heard and felt all the way to Mai Ja Yang. So it seems the president's orders are falling on deaf ears,” he added.
Meanwhile, efforts to bring relief supplies to civilians displaced by the conflict continue to face hurdles.
According to La Nan, a group of UN relief workers that recently visited KIO-controlled areas for humanitarian aid delivery were stranded for several hours as they attempted to travel to Bhamo Township because of mortar shelling by government troops.
There are estimated to be more than 34,000 refugees sheltering in Laiza, the majority of them women, children and the elderly. As winter sets in and temperatures fall in this northernmost corner of Southeast Asia, there are concerns that they are becoming increasingly vulnerable to health problems.
On Wednesday, the government's newly established human rights commission also warned that children living in temporary shelters in Kachin State could be suffering from psychological trauma, while “the adults seem to experience a sense of insecurity and diminished confidence,” according to a statement published by the state-run New Light of Myanmar.
However, the KIO has made it clear that it does not welcome offers of help from the government.
“We don’t accept their donations because they are not sincere. We refuse to take anything offered by groups affiliated with the government that is attacking us,” said La Nan.
In addition to 2,000 kg of supplies from Kachin State officials and 200 bags of rice donated by local MP Thein Zaw, the KIO also turned down 400 family kits—containing blankets, clothing and other basic necessities—from the government-backed Myanmar Red Cross Society.
However, it has accepted relief supplies provided by UN organizations such as the the United Nations Children's Fund, which provided 300 family kits to displaced families in Laiza on Tuesday.
All rejected donations were returned to their respective sources on Wednesday, according to La Nan.
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Old 12-22-2011, 11:19 AM
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Default Govt Agrees Ceasefire Talks With Karen Rebels

http://www.irrawaddy.org/article.php?art_id=22695

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Govt Agrees Ceasefire Talks With Karen Rebels By WAI MOE Wednesday, December 21, 2011
A government negotiator met once again with Karen National Union (KNU) representatives in the Thai-Burmese border town of Mae Sot on Monday with further talks towards a ceasefire agreement in southeast Burma arranged for the new year.
KNU sources said that their newly formed peace task-force agreed to meet a Naypyidaw delegation for ceasefire talks in Karen State’s capital of Hpa-an on Jan.12. The KNU is Burma’s longest standing ethnic rebel group.
David Taw, a leader of the KNU peace task-force, said both sides exchanged perspectives on the peace process during the Monday meeting, but he declined to explain details of their discussion.
“Today's meeting was a good step for both sides regarding a ceasefire and peace. Both sides agreed to meet and talk again in Hpa-an next month,” one of Minister for Railways Aung Min’s aides told The Irrawaddy.
He added that it will take time to achieve a political resolution between the government and the KNU, but that Aung Min dared to meet the rebels without any guards in order to build trust between the two sides.
The KNU peace task-force was led by Gen Mutu Say Poe, chief-of-staff of the group's military wing, the Karen National Liberation Army, alongside KNU central committee members Pado Artoe and David Taw. Other key members include the seven heads of KNU-controlled districts and the commanders of the KNU’s seven brigades.
Alongside Aung Min were two executives from Myanmar Egress, Hla Maung Shwe and Nay Win Maung, who are well-connected to the Minister for Railways—he reportedly once described them as his “brain.” Businessman Ko Ko Maung also accompanied Aung Min.
The Monday meeting was the second between the KNU and Aung Min in two months. On Nov.19, Aung Min met seperately with the KNU and four other ethnic groups—the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), Shan State Army-South (SSA-South), Karenni National Progressive Party and Chin National Front.
Following their meeting, Naypyidaw signed a peace agreement with the SSA-South at Shan State level on December 2 but has not yet reached ceasefire agreements with the other groups.
Reports in Rangoon-based journals earlier this week claim that the government formed a peace group to talk with the KIO. The Naypyidaw delegation would be led by Aung Thaung—a member of the secretaries board of the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and a former Industry-1 minister. Aung Min and another leading member of the USDP, Thein Zaw, are also deputy leaders of this peace group.
KIO sources told The Irrawaddy that they received a letter from Naypyidaw on Dec. 18 regarding the new government peace group.
“At the moment, there has been no further development concerning the next talks between the government peace group and ourselves,” said La Nan, joint-secretary of the KIO. “We will form a negotiation group to talk with the government group.”
However, he added that government military activities are increasing in Kachin State with fighting between Kachin and government troops still underway—even ahead of the important Christmas period for the majority-Christian Kachins.
“The critical question over militarization in Kachin State is how President U Thein Sein can handle the government army to cease their offensives against us,” said La Nan.
Meanwhile, unconfirmed military reports suggest that the government has suffered hundreds of unexpected casualties in Kachin and northern Shan State after engaging in battles with the Kachin Independence Army, the military wing of the KIO, during November. Most of the casualties were apparently caused by landmines.
The Burmese government army’s two regional military commands, one light infantry division and three military operation commands were involved in Kachin battlefields throughout November.
Aung Min will also meet New Mon State Party representatives in Sanglaburi on Thursday in the hope of achieving a ceasefire.
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Old 12-25-2011, 02:43 PM
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This old colonial era formula of British and Americans sending missionaries to convert Buddhists and Hindus of the region first and once that is done, to send troops is failing. In modern world, this will not be tolerated.

Though I am Indian, as a Buddhist from the northeastern parts of India, I can recognize what is going on in Burma. And for that, I fully support Burmese military against this KIA.
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Old 12-25-2011, 06:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tshering22 View Post

Though I am Indian, as a Buddhist from the northeastern parts of India, I can recognize what is going on in Burma. And for that, I fully support Burmese military against this KIA.
The mum's gaffer lived in Mandalay/Myitkyina , worked for 10th USAAF there before signing up with the Brits and eventually retiring to Punjab, whole place is crap now, both the rebs and Tatmadaw are scumbags with no concern for human dignity. However, it is in our strategic interest to have better relations with the junta.
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Old 01-09-2012, 10:54 AM
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Default Kachin Rebels Shoot Down Govt Helicopter, Burma Army Continues War

http://www.eurasiareview.com/08012012-kachin-rebels-shoot-down-govt-helicopter-burma-army-continues-war-oped/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campai gn=Feed%3A+eurasiareview%2FVsnE+%28Eurasia+Review% 29&utm_content=Yahoo!+Mail

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Written by: Asian Correspondent
January 8, 2012
Quote:
By Zin Linn
Officials from the Kachin Independence Organization’s armed wing have confirmed that on January 4 their fighters shot down a Burmese army transport helicopter in northern Kachin State, Kachin News Group said on Friday.
The pilot of the Russian-built helicopter died in the smash, after crash landing in a paddy field near Sinlum Bum village in N’Mawk (Momauk) Township, said Zau Seng a Kachin Independence Army (KIA) officer stationed on the front line.
Zau Seng said that after KIA fighters fired their small arms at the helicopter, it was severely damaged and also failed attempt to drop off supplies at a government military-base near Mu Bum Mountain.
The transport helicopter started generating smoke after repeatedly being hit by machine gunfire from troops from the KIA’s 3rd Brigade, eyewitnesses told the Kachin News Group said. The helicopter crashed several miles away from the Mu Bum base during a visible retreat to its home base in Manmaw.
The remains of the helicopter were discovered the following day by local villagers.
Fighting between the KIA and government forces has continued unabated for nearly seven months, despite President Thein Sein having instructed the army to cease the Kachin offensive on December 10 2011. This begs the question why the commander-in-chief, Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, has turned a deaf ear to the president. Is it a trick played by president and the army boss? Or, is it a band of soldiers against the president’s reform plan?
In his message to the 64th Anniversary Independence Day, President Thein Sein says: “Unity and cooperation of the entire national people are instrumental to building the Republic of the Union of Myanmar into a modern, developed democratic nation. If national solidarity disintegrated, the goal of democracy could not be achieved.”
While the president said yes to amity and unison among ethnic groups on 4 January Independence Day, his armed forces have been fighting fiercely against the Kachin Independence Organization in the Kachin State up to date. It is this inconsistency from the president in his the regime that has been resulted in war launching against the Kachin rebels in full swing.
Although Burma’s military-backed government has kept quiet on the number of Burmese soldiers killed in action during the Kachin offensive, KIA sources say that the Burmese army has sustained its worst losses in more than two decades. Some experienced Burmese military observers have supported a claim that the Burma Army’s Generals take no notice of the safety of their own badly trained recruit soldiers.
The latest series of armed clashes in the Kachin state have prompted observers to believe that the futile war in the border regions may not be preventable.
The Thein Sein government seems to be uninterested in ending hostilities upon the Kachin Independence organization. So, it is obvious that the government is not heading towards a democratic system. As an alternative, it attempts to acquire and retain the Kachin State in a malicious way.
In a recent interview to The Associated Press, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi made a comment: “I am concerned about how much support there is in the military for changes. In the end that’s the most important factor, how far the military are prepared to cooperate with reform principles.”
Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi said that the country’s long-lasting ethnic conflicts is predicting the more fundamental issue in due course; since there is no ethnic unification it will be very hard for all to build a strong democracy.
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Old 05-26-2012, 09:45 AM
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Default Cooperation between Mekong countries to improve security along Golden Triangle: UNODC

B.S. All smoke and mirrors.

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VIENTIANE, May 24 (Xinhua) -- The extradition of notorious drug- lord Naw Kham to China this month is indicative of effective cooperation on security issues between the Mekong countries and should increase security in the region,according to United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) official.
The Golden Triangle region, where the borders of Laos, Thailand and Myanmar meet along the Mekong, has long been linked with piracy and the smuggling of opium, and more recently amphetamines. The region is difficult to police, and the problems in the area have been exacerbated by conflicts in Myanmar between the government and ethnic groups in the region.
The arrest provides positive signs for regional security as well as relations between the countries. "The joint cooperation shown in this arrest demonstrates the good relations and common goal to ensure security and stability shared by all countries in the region," UNODC Country Representative for Laos and Deputy Regional Representative Liek Boonwaat said at a recent exclusive interview with Xinhua.
He added that co-operation between the regional authorities should help improve the situation. Information sharing between Lao and Chinese authorities was identified having great significance in the successful arrest of Naw Kham.
Senior cabinet members from China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand met in Beijing on Oct. 31 last year, and agreed to take joint action to crack down on cross-border crime and secure transportation along the Mekong River.
Under the framework of the "Law Enforcement Cooperation along the Mekong River Mechanism," the four countries built sub- mechanisms for intelligence exchanges, patrolling and law enforcement, as well as for tackling major problems jeopardizing public order, combating transnational crimes and dealing with emergency events.
Naw Kham, a 44 year old Myanmar national, was arrested in western Laos on April 25 where he was suspected of attempting to negotiate a drug deal. Naw Kham has long been identified as a major drug smuggler in the region. He and his followers have also been linked to the shooting of 13 Chinese sailors on October 5, 2011.
"The arrest of Naw Kham and the reported surrender of 30 of his followers would indicate that drug trafficking and piracy committed by a major group in the Golden Triangle area has ended," Boonwaat told Xinhua.
Boonwaat agreed that the arrest would improve the safety of the notoriously dangerous region, but argued that "socio-economic development and poverty reduction in these remote areas is essential to long term security."
Though Naw Kham has been linked by Chinese and Lao officials with last years' Mekong shooting, nine members of Thailand's Pha Muang Taskforce have also implicated. The case is far from clear, though hopefully China's prosecution of Naw Kham will bring more details to light.
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/in..._131608540.htm
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Old 01-17-2013, 01:37 AM
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Default Myanmar rebels under fire

http://www.reuters.com/video/2013/01...videoChannel=1
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Old 01-19-2013, 08:37 AM
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Default Kachin rebels sceptical over Myanmar ceasefire

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/myanmar-ann...162305419.html
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Old 01-28-2013, 12:01 PM
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Default Burmese Rebels Claim to Have Retaken Vital Outpost

http://www.globalsecurity.org/milita...0ao00hrl%2enge

Burmese Rebels Claim to Have Retaken Vital Outpost

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by Ron Corben January 27, 2013
Burmese rebels facing intense fighting say they have retaken a key outpost near the Kachin-rebel headquarters. The rebel Kachin Independence Army says it has reclaimed the northern Burma position after briefly retreating.
Weekend fighting around the Hka Ya Bhum mountain post intensified with up to 3,000 Burmese troops attacking the lookout, considered a last line of defense protecting the rebel headquarters in Laiza, near the border with China. The rebel outpost reportedly fell in the face of heavy artillery and air attack from government forces.
But Kachin Independence Army spokesman Colonel James Lum Dau claimed in a statement to VOA late Sunday that rebel forces had retaken the post. Information in the rebel statement could not be independently confirmed.
Rights groups say in addition to the Laiza's 20,000 population, there are an estimated 20,000 internally displaced people living nearby.
Recent fighting in northern Kachin state has included government use of Russian-made Mi-35 gunship helicopters and fighter aircraft against Kachin positions. There is no confirmed death toll.
The fighting that began in mid-2011 ended a 17-year cease-fire agreement between Burma's army and Kachin forces.
A defense analyst at Australia's New University of New South Wales, Carl Thayer, says Burma's army is pressing for a new cease-fire with the Kachin forces.
"The strategy is obviously to gain an upper hand over the Kachin ,' Thayer said. 'If the momentum is swinging and they can push and seize the capital, then the cease-fire comes and they have it in place - the attempt to get a cease-fire would cause the military to push even harder because it would solidify the gains it has got on the ground."
A Kachin studies' senior researcher at Estonia's Tallinn University, Karin Dean, says the rebels may be facing a "critical moment" in the struggle for autonomy.
"The conflict has escalated, there is even more violence than there was months ago,' Dean said. 'That started with the bombing just around Christmas time. Maybe it is a critical moment. Of course the government has the power and equipment, well equipped to perhaps take over Laiza and crush the Kachin positions. But it will not be able to stop the violence. The KIO [Kachin Independence Organization] may have another tactic on the ground. It cannot really crush the resistance. There will be political resistance.'
Dean says central government control would undermine economic gains made during the cease-fire years. The Kachin-controlled economy benefited by trade and business ties with China and gains in the teaching of the Kachin language at schools.
U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs spokesman Stewart Davies says international organizations are calling for access to conflict areas amid fears for the welfare of tens of thousands of internally displaced in Kachin state.
"More than ever now we are concerned about civilians caught in this conflict and really to try to reiterate that we have got a concern for 75,000 people already and has since June of last year,' Davies said. 'So our key message is we continue to advocate government to get access - we need access first and then we can follow up."
Analysts say Burma's government is seeking to extend control over a region rich in resources. Several countries, including the United States, and the United Nations have raised concerns over the rising violence. But Burma's state-controlled media challenged the criticism, accusing the Kachin of terrorist actions and atrocities.
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Old 02-11-2013, 07:47 AM
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Default Myanmar rebels, government to hold talks in China

http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2013...ethnic-rebels/
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  #19  
Old 08-20-2013, 10:16 AM
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Default Govt-Backed Militias Clash With Kachin, Karen Rebels

http://www.irrawaddy.org/archives/42311

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RANGOON — Separate clashes were reported over the weekend in north Burma’s Kachin State and east Burma’s Karen State between government-backed militias and non-state armed groups.

In Kachin State, clashes reportedly occurred on Saturday between the government-backed Kachin Border Guard Force (BGF) and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA).

San Aung, a peace broker with the KIA’s political wing—the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO)—said fighting broke out after BGF members attacked KIA bases in Chi Pwe and Sawlaw, two towns in Pangwa region, in the northern part of the state.

He said the BGF members formerly belonged to the New Democratic Army-Kachin (NDAK), a rebel group that defected from the KIA and has since disbanded.

“I don’t know why they clashed,” he told The Irrawaddy on Monday. “I heard one or two people were killed from the BGF. They wore KIA uniforms and pretended to be members of the KIA, and they attacked KIA bases. Clashes lasted for about one hour.”

According to sources at a KIO liaison office in the state capital Myitkyina, BGF soldiers launched the attacks together with government troops and targeted a battalion under KIA Brigade 1. Three soldiers from the joint BGF-government forces died, the KIO sources said.

A battalion of government troops identified only as Battalion 521 assisted the BGF, the sources added, saying the joint forces used 60 mm rocket-propelled grenade launchers in the attack.

A 17-year ceasefire between the KIA and the government broke down in 2011. Fighting escalated earlier this year but has since calmed, with the KIO and the government’s peace negotiation delegation signing a seven-point preliminary peace agreement in late May. Under the agreement, both sides pledged to “undertake efforts to achieve de-escalation and cessation of hostilities” and to “continue discussions on military matters related to repositioning of troops.”

San Aung from the KIO said the Kachin BGF had very strong ties to the government.

“The Kachin BGF is a militia that is controlled by the government’s armed forces,” he said. “They have to listen to orders from the government’s force. I think without support from the government’s armed forces, they would not have dared to fight the KIA.”

“The fighting would have spiraled out of control in Pangwa Township if the government had not ordered this group [the Kachin BGF] to stop,” he added.

The NDAK officially disbanded in November 2009, following an agreement reached earlier that year between its founder, Zahkung Ting Ying (also known in state media as Za Khun Ting Ring) and the central government. The NDAK’s 1,000 or so troops were subsequently transformed into a BGF.

Meanwhile, separate clashes reportedly broke out in Karen State on Friday between the government-backed Karen BGF and troops from the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), the armed wing of the Karen National Union (KNU). One soldier from the Karen BGF was reportedly killed in the fighting and two were wounded.

Gen Saw Johnny, commander-in-chief of the KNLA, told The Irrawaddy on Monday that fighting was reported in the village of Weigyi, in a southwestern area of the state controlled by KNLA Brigade 5.

He said KNLA leaders and respective officials from the Karen BGF would meet to find a resolution to the conflict, but he did not disclose a date or location for the meeting.

“We don’t know exactly what the problem was on the ground,” he added. “But, as both sides are Karen people, we will try our best to solve it.”

The KNU signed a ceasefire agreement with the government’s peace delegation in January 2012.

Border Guard Forces were created under Burma’s former military regime, which called for all armed forces in the country to be placed under central military command.

This was achieved with two rebel armed groups, the NDAK in Kachin State and the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) in Karen State. These groups disarmed, incorporated into separate BGFs and then resupplied with government-issued weapons. As BGFs, they became subordinate to regional government military commanders.
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Old 08-20-2013, 10:59 AM
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