In Myitkyina the Kachin State capital a large prayer service was held to mark the one year anniversary of fighting between the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) and Burma's armed forces on Saturday, June 9.
The ceremony organized by the youth wing of the Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) was held at the Kachin Theological College’s AD 2000 memorial hall in Nawng Nang. More than 2,500 students and other young people attended.
Youth from nearby internally displaced people's camps also attended. About 400 of the participants wore traditional Kachin clothing.
Injured journalist Sara Lahpai Naw Ming, a recent recipient of the "Citizen of Burma Award 2012" spoke to the audience via phone. Sara Lagwi Myu Lat a recipient of the “7 Day News Hero Award” also called in.
Rev. Dr. Hkalam Sam Sun, General Secretary of Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC), who just recently returned from Canada, also gave a special sermon.
Youth leaders who organized the event said that many of those who attended the event were encouraged by the service.
Government police officials also attended to monitor those taking part. Despite their intimidating presence the ceremony and prayer service was successful, said participants.
Kachin people around the world also marked solemn anniversary and similar events were held in the US, UK, Australia, Denmark, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand. A ceremony also took place at the Laiza headquarters of the KIO which is currently home to more than 25,000 internally displaced people.