Fri 30 Apr 2010
Filed under: Inside Burma
At the 17th meeting between Burmese junta brass and ethnic Kachin leaders, concluded yesterday, the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) made it clear it will not accept the Border Guard Force.
The meeting came at the end of the third deadline for transforming Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the armed-wing of KIO to the Burmese Army-controlled BGF in Kachin State, northern Burma.
At the two-day meeting on the BGF faceoff, the two sides met in the Northern Regional Command in Myitkyina, capital of Kachin State, said KIO officials in Laiza headquarters east of Kachin State, near the China border.
The KIO delegates led by Chairman Lanyaw Zawng Hra told junta leaders that it would like to continue with the ceasefire and work for a genuine federal union with equal rights between majority and minorities in the country.
Two senior KIO/A officers— Lt-Gen Gauri Zau Seng, Vice-President No. 1 and Brig-Gen Sumlut Gun Maw, Vice-Chief of Staff of KIA skipped the meeting, said KIO officers.
This was the second meeting, where the junta realized that the KIO will not accept the BGF. The KIO’s decision was arrived at after a press conference on the BGF standoff on April 16 in Laiza headquarters.
In what was unusual the BGF meeting was attended by two ethnic Shan military officers — Brig-Gen Thein Zaw, Minister for Telegraph, Post and Communications and Maj-Gen Lun Maung, Auditor-General of the junta from Naypyitaw, along with Maj-Gen Soe Win, commander of the Northern Regional Command and U Aung Thaung, Minister of Industry-1.
The three junta officials except Commander Soe Win, who was born in Kachin State— Brig-Gen Thein Zaw is from Waingmaw Township and Maj-Gen Lun Maung is from Bhamo. Both are ethnic Shans whereas U Aung Thaung was also born in Mohnyin, Kachin State, said sources close to them.
On the orders of the junta supremo Snr-Gen Than Shwe, the four military officers spoke to the people in Kachin State during their election campaign and threatened to eliminate the KIO/A if it rejects the BGF. The KIO/A ignored the threat.
A KIO official in Laiza criticized the Burman-led military junta of trying to drive a wedge between ethnic Kachin and Shan by using Kachin state-born Shan officials.
The junta set three deadlines – on October 31 last year, February 28 and April 28 for transforming all ethnic ceasefire groups in the country to the BGF. However, Kachin, Mon, Shan and Wa have rejected the proposal.