Citing the army's refusal to provide an adequate explanations for the November 19th shelling attack on a Kachin Independence Army (KIA) officer training school which killed 23 cadets, the KIA's political wing has vowed to boycott a previously scheduled monthly meeting with the army in Myitkyina this month.
Col. Hkun Nawng a senior official with the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) says that the boycotting the meeting is a necessary response. “Regarding the November 19th incident the KIO sent a letter to the Burma government. After resolving this problems with Aung Min (vice chairman of UPWC) then we can start over again,” Col. Hkun Nawng explained to the Kachin News Group (KNG).
The KIO’s Technical Advisory Team based in Myitkyina the Kachin state capital has been meeting with their governments counterparts every month in order to reduce tensions between the two sides. The KIO's side is led by Col.Zau Tawng while the Kachin State Minister for Border and Security Affairs Col. Than Aung leads the government team.
These monthly meetings have been held since May and appear to have had a positive impact and reducing tensions on the ground. According to Col. Hkun Nawng from August to October of this year there were significantly less clashes between KIA troops and the Burma army. But further meetings will not take place until the KIO gets a clear answer from the government about the deadly shelling incident, he said.
Burmese government officials have given contradictory explanations for the shelling incident, including that it was a misplaced warning shot. Burma Army units located near KIO territory fired a series of shells at the KIO on November 22nd and 23rd November. Some of the shells landed very near Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps and villages. Both the shelling of the cadet school and the shelling near the IDP camps was also widely condemned by the Kachin community.
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