This is the first time that Burma’s military brass has officially spoken about eliminating KIO, which had a ceasefire agreement with the junta for over 16 years. The armed group also approved the junta-centric 2008 constitution.
Responding to the KIO’s August 30 statement, General Thein Sein, Prime Minister, who is spearheading the junta-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) made the threatening noises in the presence of leaders of the two groups that had much earlier split from the KIO. He was speaking in Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State a week ago, said sources close to the two groups.
Among the six issues in the KIO statement, it stated that it will transform the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), its armed wing only if genuine peace is brought about between the KIO and the junta, and a genuine federal union is restored in the country on the basis of 1947 Panglong Agreement signed by Kachin and other ethnic leaders.
During a special meeting with Lawayang-based Lasang Awng Wa Militia Group and Pangwa-based Border Guard Force (formerly New Democratic Army-Kachin), PM Thein Sein said the junta was going to eliminate the KIO as a first instance in ASEAN in the wake of the elections. Now, the regime will no longer accept even if the KIO surrenders weapons, the sources added.
The Burmese PM lambasted the KIO at the meeting for failing to transform KIA to either the Border Guard Force or a militia group and finally not surrendering its weapons, according people close to participants at the meeting.
Thein Sein made it abundantly clear that the KIO had tried the junta’s patience and there is no more scope for transforming KIA or it surrendering weapons. It faces elimination because it rejected all the proposals of the regime, added sources.
Earlier, he had tried to fuel intra-tribal war among Kachin nationals--- the Jinghpaw, Lisu, Rawang, Maru (Lawngwaw), Azi and Lashi during a visit to Puta-O district on February 25. The Burmese PM had met only tribal leaders from Rawang and Lisu, and promised to arm them if they paid back Jinghpaw as revenge, while recalling the conflict between the KIO and Rawang in 1968.
The pro-junta Rawang militia group, the so-called Rebellion Resistance Force (RRF) leader Tanggu Dang, also Ah Dang welcomed the Burmese PM’s assurance of arms.
During the 2007 Buddhist monk-led protests in the main cities in proper Burma, Ah Dang a businessman, sent over 200 of his troops to Naypyitaw, the country’s capital for cracking down on the demonstrators.
The junta had ordered Kachin, Wa, Mon, Shan and other ethnic armed groups to surrender weapons as of September 1, two months before the election. The order was ignored by the ethnic groups.
Meanwhile, none of the Kachin political parties were approved by the Election Commission to contest the elections except the junta-sponsored (USDP) and the Unity and Democracy Party of Kachin State (UDPKS) led by Duwa Hkyet Hting Nan.