UWSA supports KIA’s military response to Burmese Army

The United Wa State Army (UWSA), Burma’s strongest ethnic Wa armed group, supports the Kachin Independence Army’s (KIA) military response to an intrusion by the Burmese Army into its controlled area on Monday, Wa sources said.

A Wa official said Wa leaders see the KIA’s attack on Burmese troops as an appropriate response and said the Wa Army will help the KIA if the large numbers of Burmese troops take offensive action against the Kachin armed group.

Monday’s battle was the first time in the 17-year ceasefire period, the KIA attacked Burmese troops.
The intruders were from Infantry Battalion No. 15, based in Mohnyin. They entered the territory controlled by the KIA’s battalion 27, in Man Win Township, in Manmaw (Bhamo) district, bordering with Shan State.

The Burmese battalion commander, Lt-Col Yin Htwe, was killed and seven soldiers were wounded in the attack.

At least 16 KIA soldiers were shot dead by Burmese Army during the ceasefire period. However, the KIA did not respond militarily to the deaths.

The Wa force is a strong military ally of the KIA outside the recently formed alliance of armed ethnic groups known as the Federal Army and the Committee for Emergence of a Federal Union (CEFU). The alliance is calling for the restoration of a genuine federal union in Burma.

However, Wa leaders have been concerned the KIA would accept the dishonest offers for a political settlement made by the new Burmese government, which it says is still controlled by military leaders who are overseeing the formation of the parliamentary conference in the country’s capital Naypyitaw.

Previously, the Wa were concerned the KIA would accept the junta’s proposal to transform into the Burma Army-controlled Border Guard Force (BGF) during negotiations from April 2009 to August 2010,
according to Wa leaders.

The major ethnic ceasefire armed groups--- KIA, UWSA, New Mon State Party (NMSP), Shan State Army-North (SSA-N) have all rejected the junta-proposed BGF.

Wa leaders say genuine political dialogue will not happen between ethnic armed groups and the new government, and war is inevitable because the former prime minister, General Thein Sein, took control of the office of president and Snr-Gen Than Shwe and Vice Snr-Gen Maung Aye, still control the military.

The Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) and its armed-wing, the KIA, have gained support from the Kachin people as well as it allies for its first military response to the Burmese troops.